2018 Masters Preview

I haven’t written anything here in a really long time, but I felt the 2018 Masters warranted a re-entry into the writing world. Unfortunately the week got away from me a little bit, so I didn’t quite get to write as much content as I would have liked. As I’m writing this, a storm is bearing down on our house and we briefly lost power! Anyways, I wanted to put something together that could appeal to both the casual fan and the most hardcore. Because of that approach, I decided to go with shorter write-ups and cover a larger number of players. Hope you enjoy it and here’s to hoping for an awesome week of golf!

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

I can’t remember a Masters with this much intrigue coming into it. Tiger is back in the mix. Jordan Spieth appears to be back in form. His “good buddy” Justin Thomas is looking to take over as #1 in the world. Sergio will attempt to defend his title. Phil and Bubba have both won recently and are looking to add yet another green jacket. Rory, Rickie, Rahm, and Rose (yay alliteration) are looking to get their first. Oh yea, I haven’t even mentioned the world #1, Dustin Johnson, who was the prohibitive favorite coming into this event last year before “falling down the stairs”. Golf is as popular as its ever been, and the 2018 edition of the Masters could be one for the ages.

The Favorites

Dustin Johnson

Why he’ll win: He’s effortlessly long off the tee and should be able to overpower the Par 5s. His prowess with a wedge in his hand is well-documented. Oh yea, he’s also the number one player in the world.

Why he won’t: His form lately, especially in the match play event, hasn’t been up to his usual standards. He also likes to work the ball from left to right and play his usual fade, which isn’t ideal for Augusta.

Jordan Spieth

Why he’ll win: This place brings out the best in Jordan Spieth. Spieth’s career finishes here are 11th, 2nd, 1st, and 2nd. His ball striking is as good as it’s ever been this season. He started to look like himself in the final round of the Houston Open.

Why he won’t: People don’t like to say the “y” word in golf (yips), but Jordan Spieth has appeared to have them on short putts this year. With lightning fast greens, that’s the last thing someone needs when trying to compete for another major.

Justin Thomas

Why he’ll win: DJ is officially still #1 in the world rankings, but most would agree Justin Thomas has been the world’s best player this season. Despite being smaller than me, he has a tremendous amount of power and should be able to dominate the Par 5s.

Why he won’t: He doesn’t have a ton of experience or success here. He mentioned at the match play that the pressure of potentially taking over #1 got to him a bit. Things won’t get less stressful in trying to capture his first green jacket.


Rory McIllroy

Why he’ll win: He showed flashes of brilliance as the Arnold Palmer Invitational a few weeks ago and reminded everyone that at his best, there are few better. He is one of the best drivers of the ball on Tour and should score well on the Par 5s.

Why he won’t: A win here would clinch the Grand Slam for Rory, something that only a handful of golfers have ever accomplished. His putting is always a major concern, especially on these racetrack bentgrass greens.

Justin Rose

Why he’ll win: He’s been close so many times here, including a runner-up finish in a playoff to Sergio last season. His game has no major weaknesses.

Why he won’t: If he hasn’t done it by now, some say he’ll never get it done. His putter can run cold at times.


Tiger Woods

Why he’ll win: He’s Tiger Woods and he’s playing at Augusta. His course knowledge is second to none.  His game is rounding into form and his work around the greens this year has been stellar. His course knowledge is second to none.

Why he won’t: He hasn’t won in forever. Will the killer instinct still be there when he needs it? While Augusta isn’t overly punishing for inaccuracy off the tee, his driver has been a nightmare at times this year.

Bubba Watson

Why he’ll win: When Bubba is happy and confident, there isn’t a player like him in the world. Recently, he’s been in yesteryear’s form with two wins already this year. He loves this course (two wins) where his imagination, length, and right-to-left ball flight (left-handed) make it a match made in heaven.

Why he won’t: Bubba is an emotional player. If things go poorly, he can often unravel in a hurry.

Phil Mickelson

Why he’ll win: Most everything that can be said about Bubba can copied here for Phil. He’s in the midst of a career resurgence and is playing his best golf in years.  He’s won here three times, the last coming in 2010.

Why he won’t: Phil can be wild off the tee, especially with the driver in hand. This can lead to some big numbers on his scorecard, which won’t cut it in such a loaded field.

Jason Day

Why he’ll win: After a lackluster 2017 season by his standards, Day has looked much better in 2018. Day is long off the tee, great around the greens, and his putter can be white hot when he’s on.

Why he won’t: Day’s iron play still hasn’t quite returned to form. While he’s consistently been in the Top 25s in his trips here, he hasn’t legitimately contended for a win since 2013.


Sergio Garcia

Why he’ll win: He’s proven he can win here before… Sergio is a ball-striking machine. His iron and wedge play is arguably some of the best in the world.

Why he won’t: It’s extremely difficult to repeat as champion at any event, but especially the Masters. Media obligations and the pressure to win again can take its toll. His putting woes can flare up at any time.

Rickie Fowler

Why he’ll win: While Fowler doesn’t excel in any one area, he has one of the most well-rounded games in the field. He’s plenty long off the tee and is a confident putter. Other than a missed cut in 2016, he has been stellar at Augusta.

Why he won’t: Fowler has yet to win a major, and each failing attempt continues to mount the pressure. He has also struggled with blowup holes lately.


Even casual golf fans have probably heard of everyone mentioned above. For anyone looking for a deeper dive, here’s a pair of players I expect to contend that aren’t (yet) household names.

Alex Noren

Some of the golf world already knows who Alex Noren is, but here’s a primer for those of you that don’t. Noren has played a large portion of his career events on the European Tour, which is why he’s relatively unknown. Noren has won ten times internationally, including the British Masters and the Omega European Masters. Could he add THE Masters to the list? I think he could. European players are often great ball strikers who struggle to putt. Noren can do both. The major concern is his lack of experience here, with a missed cut in his only appearance. I think he learns from that experience and rebounds with a Top 10 performance in his encore.

Xander Schauffele

One of the reasons I wanted to write up Xander Schauffele is because his nickname is incredible. The “X Man”. For a nerd like me, that’s just too good to be true. Luckily, his game backs up his awesome nickname. “X” surprised everyone when he won the Tour Championship last fall. He had already won at the Greenbrier Classic, but the Tour Championship win announced himself to the golf world in a big way. Schauffele packs a complete game and is quite long off the tee. He is a confident putter, which should serve him well on these fast, but true greens. The major concern for the X Man is that this will be his first trip to the Masters. Historically, first timers haven’t faired too well, but I think Schauffele bucks that trend with a Top 20 finish.

The Winner

I could have written up about 15 different players here and felt good about every single one of them, but I have to pick a winner. My winner for the 2018 Masters is Justin Rose. Rose has been as consistent as anyone in the world this season. In ten appearances, he has eight Top 10s including a pair of wins in Europe. His record at Augusta has been sparkling as well with Top 25s in his last five trips here and a memorable runner-up last year to Sergio Garcia. Rose’s game has no major weaknesses. He is long off the tee, is an excellent ball striker, and has good touch around the greens. The knock on Rose historically is that his putter can go cold, but his abilities with the flat stick are actually underrated. If you can make enough putts, this Rose might be wearing green.

Top 10

  1. Justin Rose
  2. Rory McIllroy
  3. Bubba Watson
  4. Jordan Spieth
  5. Justin Thomas
  6. Dustin Johnson
  7. Jason Day
  8. Tiger Woods
  9. Alex Noren
  10. Phil Mickelson

Joseph’s Journal on the Night of Christ’s Birth

As I get older, Christmas continues to take on new meanings each year. As cheesy as it sounds, Christmas is more about family, friends, and remembering Jesus’ birth than it is about presents and silly tacky Christmas parties. Each year, it seems as though a new element of the story of Christ’s birth stands out to me. This year, my heart has been fixated on Joseph’s role in the story. I feel like due credit is given to Mary for her role in the story (every bit deserved), but Joseph is often the forgotten man that simply stands in the background. The following account is entirely fictional, but possibly not too farfetched account from Joseph’s journal on the night that Jesus was born.

Dear Journal,

I barely have the strength to move my quill, but I know that I need to write down my thoughts before I forget them during the upcoming chaos. Words cannot describe the whirlwind of emotions that I am feeling, but I will try my best.

I am exhausted. I don’t remember the last time I slept.

I am scared. How will we raise this child? 

I am paranoid. Everyone will soon try to kill my son.

am concerned what others think. I can hear them whispering as we pass by. 

I am ecstatic. My heart has never felt joy as strong as when I held my child for the first time. 

I am a father. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I will love this child more than anything. 

I am the earthly father of the Son of God. Did I really just write that? Can it possibly be true? God, why did you chose me? You know that I have no extraordinary qualities. I’m flattered, but couldn’t you have found someone more worthy than me?

Everything smells of manure and animal feed. The baby has rightfully been given the cleanest robes and the freshest water, but I would love to bathe or have a clean set of clothes too. The dirt caked to my feet is seeming like it might never come off and my sandals are worn through. The blood on my robes from assisting in the birth will likely never come out, and it might act as a beautiful yet painful reminder from this historic night. I am starving. We had to make sure that Mary received plenty of food, which left scarce amounts for the rest of us. The slop that the animals eat is looking more appealing by the minute. 

There are so many people that want to see my son. Already, there have been several shepherds and “wise men”. Their intentions seem pure, but I can’t trust anyone around my precious son. I won’t sleep while they are awake because too many people want to kill my baby. I don’t know who I can trust at this point. I know you will watch over him God, but I have to do my part as an earthly father to protect him. My instincts will be to shelter him from everyone to protect, but I know that you have greater plans for Him. I pray that you will open my heart to see what you have planned for Him. 

I am sick of the persecution that I have received thus far, and I know that it will not go away. Everyone says that I am crazy. Everyone says that it is impossible to get pregnant without having sex. Everyone says that the love of my life is a slut. I keep telling myself that what everyone else says doesn’t matter God, but sometimes it gets to me. Why couldn’t you have just given us Jesus through a normal birth after we were married? Wouldn’t that have made life easier on everyone. I try not to doubt you, but I just struggle to see why you have planned it this way. 

 What’s next God? How am I supposed to raise the son of God? Other than providing him with the essentials needed to survive, will I be needed as a father? What do I possibly have to teach the physical embodiment of God? How will I know where to take him? Am I to discipline Him if he is ever worthy of discipline?  I have so many questions for you God. 

Although I have felt all of the fear, doubt, persecution, and judgment over the past several months, everything was worth it when I was able to grasp him in my arms. He is perfect. His is helpless, yet all-powerful at the same time. I didn’t know my heart was capable of feeling these emotions, especially for a child that isn’t technically from my flesh. God, I thank you for this miraculous gift. I pray that you will help remind me that He is indeed a gift from you, and that each day is precious.

My eyes are dreary and everyone else seems to be asleep. I guess it’d be best for me to try and get some as well. We have many long days ahead and I’ll need my strength to support Mary and my Son. I love you God. Please protect us all.



Everyone Loves Jeter, But Is He Overrated?

Derek Jeter has officially played his last game as a professional baseball player. Jeter announced that he will forego the final series vs. the Red Sox to preserve the final memories of his last game at Yankee Stadium. Jeter is being heralded as an all-time great and a once-in-a-generation player. Are these claims valid? There is no denying that Jeter will be a first-ballot hall of famer one day, but where he stands in history is up for debate. Let’s take a look at why everyone loves Jeter so much, but why he might overrated.

Part 1: Why We Love Him

One Team, One Love

As sports fans, we gravitate to players that spend their entire careers with one team. MJ and Kobe highlight the group of athletes that have remained with the team that drafted them, while Lebron shows what kind of scrutiny those that leave their team can face. The circumstances can dictate players being allowed to walk without consequence (think Favre and Manning, who were forced out the door), but most fans frown upon leaving your initial team, especially after a player has been there for several years. This is especially true when you play for an iconic franchise. Jeter has always been and will forever be known as a New York Yankee. Jeter never had a viable reason to leave, but we still love that he was with the team for 20 precious years.

No Marriage (or Steroids), No Problems

Jeter’s romantic escapades have been well-documented as demonstrated through his most impressive “accomplishments” in the form of a baseball diamond (shown below). Jeter has taken full advantage of his good looks and fame as the “King of New York” to date some of the most beautiful women in the world. Other men might have been criticized for such behavior, but Jeter rarely received any flack for his personal life. He seemed to maintain a balance between his work and personal life, so no one ever questioned him. Jeter also avoided the spotlight by staying clean and avoiding the steroid allegations that many in his time faced. Had he ever been accused or proven to take steroids, his legacy might look more like Arod’s instead of his untarnished one.

Jeter's Impressive Dating Diamond

Jeter’s Impressive Dating Diamond

 Clutch Performer

One thing cannot be questioned about Jeter, he shined in the biggest moments. This was evident during his final game at Yankee stadium, when he delivered a walk-off single to opposite field in vintage Jeter fashion. Arguably Jeter’s most famous moment came in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS series, when he saved a run by instinctively relaying the offline throw with a backhand flip (although it sure looks like he was safe. If they had replay back then, we might not remember this play so fondly). If “The Flip” was his #1 moment, then the “Mr. November” moment would be #1b. His walkoff homer run in the 2001 World Series (which was in November due to 9/11 pushing everything back) tied the series at 2-2, which they eventually went on to win. the series. His post-season numbers were almost identical or better than his regular season numbers, which is particularly impressive because of the better competition and higher-stress situations in the post-season.

Part 2: Is Jeter Overrated?


WAR stands for Wins above replacement, which is a fancy way of saying how valuable a player is to his team. The formula accounts for both offensive and defensive production, and measures how many wins in a season the player was worth to his team compared to an average player at his position. Good players are anything above a 3.0, All-Stars above a 5.0, and elite production anything above a 6.0. So what was Jeter’s WAR over the course of his 20 seasons in the majors? 71.7. That comes out to 3.58 per season. Even if you remove the seasons in which he didn’t play more than 17 games (1995 & 2013), it still comes out to less than 4.0. That’s somewhere between a good player and an All-Star player. His 71.7 WAR ranks 88th all-time. I’m not saying the numbers are anything to scoff at, but not “all-time great” numbers.

Defense Wins Championships?

Although it doesn’t really win championships, defense is an underrated portion of baseball. Jeter is widely praised for several impressive defensive plays that he made in the postseason, but Jeter was a below-average defender throughout his career. I mentioned earlier that WAR accounting for both offensive and defensive production. Jeter’s defensive WAR was positive just three times during his 20 seasons in the majors, meaning that the average shortstop was better defensively than Jeter in 17 seasons. Although he had some epic defensive moments (the “Jump Throw” and the relay play as shown above), he cost his team more runs defensively than he saved through the years.

Awards and Accolades

If Derek Jeter is going to be remembered as one of the greatest players of all-time, then surely he was one the best player for a season multiple times during his illustrious career, right? MLB gives out two MVP awards each year, one to the best player from the National and American leagues. So it is twice as likely that a great player will win MVPs versus other sports like the NBA. Trivia question, how many times did Derek Jeter finish first in the AL MVP voting? ZERO. Ok, Jeter played with and against some elite players in his day so we will forgive him for not taking down any MVP trophies. But did he come close? Next trivia question. How many times did Jeter finish in the Top 5 in AL MVP voting? Five times. That’s not very many times for someone who played as long as Jeter. The argument is often made that some players are ignored because their team is in a small market or had losing records. The Yankees are the largest franchise in baseball history and the team never had a losing record while Jeter was there. So all the usual excuses can’t be applied here. Jeter was never voted the best player in any given season, so it’s difficult to say he’s the best of his generation.


So where does Jeter rank all-time? Statistically speaking, he was a consistently productive, but not elite producer. He always hit for a high average, but never had tremendous power numbers. His defense was clearly below average other than some occasional spectacular plays. Where Jeter stands out is in the intangibles. His leadership ability was unquestioned. His knack for coming up big on the brightest stage was uncanny. He was a winner in all facets of the game. As far as where he ranks among Yankee greats of all-time, you almost have to put him behind Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio, and Yogi Berra. You could argue for Mattingly or Rivera in front of him too, but we’ll give the nod to Jeter here, which places him as the 6th greatest Yankee of all-time. Clearly, he is one of the greatest players of this generation, but not a once in a generation player like some claim. Enjoy your ride into the sunset captain, you deserve it. Nothing but RE2SPECT.

If America’s Best Athletes Played Soccer: Starting XI

The United States Mens National Team just finished a memorable journey in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Although their performances were heralded as “valiant”, “gutsy”, “formidable”, etc., they ultimately fell short. There was an obvious gap in ability when playing against superior opponents such as Germany and Belgium. The U.S. is making strides in its ability, but is nowhere near the level of technical abilities of other dominant nations. We boast the most athletic people in the entire world and it’s not even close. Unfortunately, the majority of these athletes are playing football and basketball instead of soccer. What if some of our most elite athletes had grown up with a soccer ball at their feet? The list below assumes that fact, not that these guys could instantly step onto the field and be great. We are assuming that they were groomed from a young age to play soccer and only soccer. The results would be amazing. Here’s my list of US all-stars below lined up in a 4-4-2 diamond. Enjoy.

Goalie: Anthony Davis

This was arguably the toughest decision on my squad as there are countless directions you could go here. I ultimately went with absurd length, wingspan, and athletic ability. His biggest issue might be getting down to ground quick enough, but his ability to block balls heading towards the upper corners would be unmatched. We’ve never seen such a tall goalie, but I think he could make it work. I deliberated on Kawhi Leonard here as well due to his freakish athleticism and enormous wingspan too.

Left Back: Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook might be the most purely athletic player in the NBA, and yes, that includes Lebron James. His immense athleticism combined with a motor that never stops would instantly make him a world class player. The only question was where he would play on the field. You could make an argument for goalie, defensive midfield, or one of the wingers, but I think he fits best in this spot given his versatility.

Center Back: J.J. Watt

Some might argue that J.J. Watt is too big and slow to play soccer, even if he had started at a young age. To that, I would say this, have you watched J.J. Watt play before? It doesn’t even make sense how quick he is given his enormous frame. His motor never stops and would harass smaller strikers into submission.

Center Back: Mike Trout

Baseball players get a bad rap for being some of the worst athletes in professional sports. While this is largely the case, that doesn’t mean that all baseball players are bad athletes. Mike Trout is a freak and could definitely play other sports, including soccer. His physicality and speed would be a nightmare matchup for opposing strikers.

Right Back: Richard Sherman

Sherman has been locking down the top receivers in the NFL for a few years now, and he could likely shut down attacking forwards in soccer as well. His athleticism is off the charts, but his intelligence could be one of his greatest assets. Sherman might be the first to coin the phrase “lock-down fullback” for his ability to erase their best player.

Defensive Midfield: Tony Allen

Can you imagine the Grindfather playing soccer? He would absolutely be a yellow-card machine, but would make life a living hell for the other team. He never stops hustling and would be a constant menace on the field. Much like basketball, he would like struggle at times with the technical aspects, but these could easily be overlooked for the intangibles be brings.

Left Midfield: Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson will likely start to fade away in the next few years as he racks up the mileage on his body. When healthly, however, Peterson is a monster with unmatched physical traits. He would employ a more direct approach than his running-back partner on the other side (McCoy), but would definitely be a force.

Right Midfield: Lesean McCoy

McCoy has juke moves that can normally only be created in a video game. Imagine these skills if he had grown up with a soccer ball at his feet? It would be like Ronaldinho with more athleticism. His compact frame would also make him very difficult to push off the ball.

Attacking Midfield: Chris Paul

Paul’s creativity and passing ability is the best in the world. If he were a soccer player, he could play the same creative role. I’m imagining him sending exquisite through balls for his strikers to run onto or dribbling right by defenders. I envision him playing a role like Xavi for Spain or Pirlo for Italy, only a far more athletic version.

Striker: Lebron James

This striker partnership is terrifying to think about. These two athletes are freaks that physically dominate their sports like no one before them. James’ breakaway speed, strength, and quickness would make him a physically imposing specimen. His ability to win balls in the air from crosses or set pieces is fun to imagine. Imagine Jozy Altidore, but far more athletic.

Striker: Calvin Johnson

See everything that was said about LBJ and insert here. The only difference is that Megatron wouldn’t cramp up 15 minutes into the game.

Honorable Mentions:

Kawhi Leonard – Goalie

Jadeveon Clowney – CB

Kenneth Faried – CB

Andre Iguodala – RB/LB

Troy Polamalu – RB/LB

Vernon Davis – Defensive Midfielder

Patrick Willis – Midfielder

LM/RM – Jamaal Charles

LM/RM – Andrew McCutchen

Attacking Mid – Derick Rose (when healthy)

Striker – A.J. Green

Striker – Kobe Bryant


Who did I leave out? There are countless elite athletes that could have been amazing soccer players. Let me know who you would include in the comments.

How Will The US Line Up Vs. Portugal?

Although the USMNT won their dramatic opener vs. Ghana, it wasn’t without consequence for the Yanks. They lost their line-leading forward, Jozy Altitore. The US failed to make much of an impact going forward without Altidore and had to be bailed out with a header from substitute centerback John Brooks.  The US doesn’t have a replacement player that can match Altidore’s role, so they will have to adapt their formation and players. Let’s dive in to the potential options that Jurgen might roll out vs. Portugal.

Donovan Regrets?

Before we breakdown the options that Jurgen Klinnsman will have at his disposal, let’s talk about the question that everyone has been asking. Could Landon Donovan have helped fill the void left by Jozy’s absence? Should he have been brought for just such emergencies? The short answer is a resounding NO. Donovan would not have helped to replace Jozy up front as they play completely different roles. Donovan is a replacement for Zusi/Bedoya/etc. who have both played vital roles thus far. A bigger argument could be made for why Klinnsman didn’t include a more similar player to Altidore like Terrence Boyd or Eddie Johnson. Unfortunately, we’ll have to continue on with the players selected.

Note: These are just my personal opinions and thoughts. I obviously have no inside information and could be way off on every one of these. Take these with a grain of salt and don’t go betting your life away based on these opinions! That being said, enjoy. 

Option #1: Jozy Substitute (4-4-2 Diamond)

The first choice  is the most simple of the bunch, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be chosen. His replacement would fill his role up top with Dempsey. Although it is listed as a 4-4-2, it will likely look somewhat more like a 4-4-1-1, with Dempsey playing just behind the fill-in striker. So who will take Jozy’s place, Johannson or Wondolowski? Wondo makes a better choice for hold-up play given his larger frame. Johannson plays better with another forward joining him up front as his link-up play is excellent. Ultimately, I think Johannson gets the nod if this is the formation of choice.


  • No positional changes are required other than Altidore’s replacement.
  • Two forwards puts more pressure on the centerback pairing and doesn’t allow them to focus on one man.


  • Wondolowsi or Johannson will be on the pitch, neither of whom strike fear into opponents.
  • Puts pressure on Beckerman to play well as he is the only true holding midfielder in front of the back four.

Note: Zusi could also replace Bedoya after his strong showing off the bench.

Option #2: “False 9” (4-2-3-1)

This option is often called a “False 9” because it doesn’t deploy a traditional striker on the field. The “9” comes from the Number 9 that is usually associated with the primary striker, whose primarily objective is to score goals. Other teams like Spain and Germany have deployed this to great success, but it requires a talented group of attacking midfielders. If the US goes this route, Zusi would likely be the only change, coming in for the injured Altidore. He should play on the right side, likely moving Bedoya to the left. Dempsey will play the “False 9” role and will be the focal point in attack. This formation will generally change shape slightly in attack and defense, but offers plenty of options for the US team. It can easily look like the 4-5-1 option as shown in Option #3 and the primary differences are outlined there.


  • Allows an experienced playmaker (Zusi) to get on the pitch.
  • Could allow for some nice link-up play between Dempsey and Bradley, who excel is such situations


  • Dempsey is not used to being the lone forward and doesn’t do well with hold-up play
  • The midfield of Beckerman, Jones, and Bradley could be outnumbered when Zusi and Bedoya get forward

What I Would Do If I Won The EsuranceSave30 Contest ($1.5 Million)

People play this game all the time, “What would you do if you won a million dollars?” Tomorrow night, someone will actually get to answer that question. It got me thinking, what would I do if I won the $1.5 million from Esurance’s giveaway? Without giving it too much thought, here’s what I would do with it.


Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a substantial portion of the $1.5 million will have to be allocated to paying taxes. You think that the taxes you owe each year are tough, but things ramp up quickly when you come into significant money in a hurry. Winning this prize would instantly boost you to the top tax bracket, which is about $128,000 and almost 40% of anything over $457,600. By my rough calculations, you will owe approximately $550,000 in taxes on the winnings, leaving you with just under a million dollars after taxes. Ouch.


Everyone always acts like they would give away a large portion of their winnings, but I honestly think that most people would do so. If the number is about million, then at a minimum, giving away 10% to tithe is reasonable. Because of the circumstances (coming into money I wasn’t expecting), I would like too give away an extra 10% for a total of $200,000. The primary beneficiaries would be my church (Ethos) and organizations that I care about in Mexico (City of Children) and Honduras (Jovenes en Camino). Note: I’m not tooting my own horn here! I feel like plenty of people would give away just as much if not more! It continues to blow me away that people are always so generous with their possessions. It inspires me to try and give more.


I put the donations section before this one because I wanted to seem like a good person, but the first thing I would do once the money was transferred into my account is to pay all of existing debt. Student Loans, House payment, and everything else with a red number associated to my name. My goal going forward would be to try and pay everything possible with cash to avoid taking on more debt. There is something freeing about not owing anyone anything.


Shortly after paying off all of my loans, I would head to the nearest guitar stores to purchase my dream guitar, the Gibson Les Paul. I don’t know exactly what model and color it would be, but I would chose the one that my soul connected with. I’d have to have a beautiful amp to go with it of course. That would probably be it for my luxury item spending. It seems like a million dollars will go a long way, but irrational spending will drain it pretty quickly.

Celebration Trip

This one would be primarily up to my wife to plan, but I’m pretty sure we would take a few weeks off to vacation somewhere. This would likely entail a trip to Europe or some exotic beach. Things that would normally be out of the question financially speaking like first class airfare or suite rooms would be in play.  We couldn’t be gone too long or we would probably be fired from our jobs. While people would instantly think about quitting their jobs, $1 million isn’t quite retirement money… Needless to say, this would be an epic trip(s).


The rest of the money, probably about $500,000, would go into various savings or interest bearing accounts. I would probably want to setup some education funding accounts for my future kids (Lord willing) and set aside some others for retirement. I realize this is boring, but I am about as practical as they come, so it wouldn’t make sense to blow it all.

How It Would Impact My Life

The great thing about this amount of money is that it won’t completely change your life like winning the lottery would. Lottery winners often complain about being much more unhappy after winning it, and a high percentage of them end up going bankrupt. One million dollars, while enough to greatly impact your life, likely wouldn’t change it entirely. It would be incredible to have to money to be able to bless others. It would be a relief to not worry about bill payments or pending debt. But these are all ancillary things in life. By tomorrow night, someone will be a new millionaire. Hopefully their life will be positively impacted by it, and they can bless others with it.

Sleep well tonight everyone. Who knows, tomorrow night, you might be a millionaire.

Best & Worst Commercials from Super Bowl XLVIII (2014)

The Super Bowl this year was a bust. It was touted as being one of the greatest matchups ever (rightfully so), but didn’t deliver because only one team showed up to play. We all know that the game was miserable, but did the commercials save the day? My answer is a resounding “meh”. There were a few good ones, but most felt forced and unnatural. Here are my thoughts on the commercials…

Big Winner – Esurance

The biggest winner of the night didn’t even have an ad during the Super Bowl, but instead decided to air it right after the game, saving them $1.5 million dollars. In a stroke of genius, they decided to offer up these saving to one lucky winner through Twitter. Naturally, this hashtag has exploded, creating millions in “free” marketing for Esurance. Others will likely try to mimic this tactic in the future, but Esurance will be remembered as the first.

Most Overrated – Jaguar Villains

I don’t have any specific quips about this one, it just  didn’t quite do it for me. Others praised it as being the best commercial of the night. Oh well, maybe I’m not cool enough to get the appeal.

Most Disappointing – Bud Light Randomness

Bud Light had been hyping their Super Bowl commercials for weeks, which puts immense pressure on them to deliver big. They weren’t terrible, but definitely didn’t live up to the hype.

Most Controversial – Coke’s America is Beautiful

People either loved or hated Coke’s ad featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in multiple languages. My twitter timeline was filled with mixed responses ranging from “best commercial ever” to “I think I’ll buy Pepsi from now on.”

“What Could Have Been” Commercials

This category contains commercials that weren’t bad, but could have been so much more with a few tweaks.


This one wasn’t absolutely terrible, but I feel as though they missed a big opportunity. Had they played off of the “hitting the 57” trick to get it to come out, it might have been more memorable and less meh.

Doritos Time Machine

I’m not sure exactly what this one was missing, but it was barely off. Just a few tweaks away from being really funny.

Audi Doberhauhau

Like most the commercials in this category, the idea was genius but wasn’t quite carried out to perfection. The Sarah McLachlan bit was fantastic. This one barely missed my top five.

TurboTax Love Hurts

This one isn’t really TurboTax’s fault per se, but it just felt really disjointed from the company’ product. The first 45 seconds were brilliant, but then the product pitch come along and they lost me. So close.

Bud Light Ridiculousness

The idea here was brilliant but the execution wasn’t quite as sound. They probably could have gone just a little bit more ridiculous, but I’m not really an expert. Overall an amusing but not epic series of commercials.

Worst Commercials

5) Kia Matrix

This one had me intrigued in the beginning, using the classic blue pill vs. red pill motif. It quickly went from intriguing to bizarre when he started opera singing, causing everything to explode… Missed opportunity here.

4) Bud Light Twist

Was this really the time to market a beer bottle with a resealable cap? How many people drink half a beer and think “Yea, this will be really good tomorrow!” and put it back in the fridge?

3) SodaStream

Wasn’t too bad until they tried to make it sleazy, although it wasn’t even that trashy. I’m never for ridiculous trashiness, but it would have at least made it memorable. Fail on every account.

2) Axe Make Love, Not War

I’m not going to waste valuable words talking about this commercial. It was dumb.

1) U2 & BoA Red

No one would have been upset if U2 had just been using this platform to launch their new song. Unfortunately, it had the “RED” name attached to it, and felt like a ploy more than a genuine effort to raise money for a good cause. What if they had just donated the $4 million instead of paying for the ad spot? Maybe I am being too harsh, but it rubbed me the wrong way.

Best Commercials

Honorable Mentions: Audi Doberhauhau and TurboTax Love Hurts

5) Cheerios Gracie

It might not have been laugh out loud funny or make you emotional to tears, but it was well done and sweet.

4) CarMax Slow Clap(s)

The first one (with people) was clever. They took a pretty big risk using the slow-clap because it is pretty played out. The commercial went from good to great when I saw the puppy version of it, which recreated everything from the first. Surprisingly excellent offerings from CarMax.

3) Radioshack 80’s Call

This one was so great because it was self-deprecating in a clever way. RadioShack took the negative stereotype about them and used it with the vintage joke about the 80’s calling. The music was perfect too. Radioshack’s shares were way up this morning, so clearly this one was effective in getting the message out.

2) Microsoft Technology

This one came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. It definitely had me teary-eyed by the end. Heck, the video of the deaf woman hearing for the first time makes me cry every time. Microsoft isn’t normally too adept with marketing, but kudos for this one.

1) Budweiser A Hero’s Welcome & Puppies

We’ve come to expect greatness from Budweiser’s commercials, and they didn’t disappoint this year. I didn’t want to chose between the two, so we’ll give both of them the first place ribbon. Although some will say that it was cheesy and overblown, the raw emotion in the hero’s arrival home was chilling and beautiful. “I’m Coming Home” has become the de facto song for military arrivals, but it worked flawlessly here. What could make the already great horse commercials even better? A puppy. Cute all around. Budweiser wins yet again.