By Bill Foley
The sports bar and restaurant was packed for the Monday night showdown between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
Many fans cheered on the 49ers. Many more rooted for the Seahawks. Some grown men even wore the jerseys of their favorite players as they clapped at the television for each big play by their team.
You would think they were at the stadium. They sure clapped as if their favorite players could hear them.
Almost every giant television showed the game from the pregame ceremony on, and the sound of the broadcast was so loud that it was hard to talk to the person sitting across the table.
Since it was Veterans Day, ESPN showed the national anthem performed live by a man in a military uniform. The American flag stretched the length of the field at Levi’s Stadium.
It was quite the patriotic display, to be sure.
Well, it was patriotic on the television, anyway.
As the anthem played that night, not one person stood up inside the sports bar and restaurant. People talked and ate as if nothing was going on, even though they had to raise their voices to be heard over the Star Spangled Banner being sung beautifully.
Saturday, Colin Kaepernick will get the chance to work out for NFL teams. At 32, the quarterback is hoping for one final chance to play in the league that would not have him the last three seasons because he took a knee during the anthem.
If he signs with an NFL team, the outrage will come back in full force. Politicians and fans will threaten to boycott the NFL. It will get really ugly once again.
As the scene at the sports bar and restaurant suggests, however, maybe, just maybe it is possible that that outrage is a bit phony.
Speaking of possible, picking NFL games is proving to be anything but that. Last week was killer because nobody could have predicted the Dolphins and Falcons could both win on the same day.
So, I will happily take my 7-6 straight up and 8-5 against the spread. That brings me to 93-55 on the season. I am approaching .500 at 72-76 against the spread.
Following are my Week 11 NFL picks. The lines are from ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Phoniness.
Pittsburgh (plus 3) at Cleveland
Mike Tomlin has to be at least considered for the Coach of the Year award.
Steelers by 7
Dallas (no line) at Detroit
If Dak Prescott doesn’t make it in the NFL, he clearly has the hip movement to make it on Dancing with the Stars.
Lions by 2
Jacksonville (no line) at Indianapolis
With Nick Foles back, Gardner Minshew and the mustache are heading to the bench.
Jags by 4
Buffalo (minus 6) at Miami
You can’t stop the Dolphins. You can only wish to contain them.
Williams by 15
Denver (plus 10.5) at Minnesota
The Broncos are coming off a “bye,” which isn’t really a bye, and Vic Fangio owns the Vikings.
Vikings by just 3
New Orleans (minus 5.5) at Tampa Bay
Just when the Saints looked like a Super Bowl team, they lost to the Falcons. At home.
Saints by just 4
New York Jets (plus 1.5) at Washington
The Jets showed last week that they are no longer the worst team from New Jersey.
Jets by 8
Atlanta (plus 5.5) at Carolina
The Panthers learned a valuable lesson last week in Green Bay.
You have to take the ball all the way through the end zone to score a tying touchdown against the Packers at Lambeau Field. Just barely in the end zone is not good enough.
Panthers by 10
Houston (plus 4) at Baltimore
The Ravens are looking like a Super Bowl team, and Lamar Jackson looks like the MVP.
Of course, everybody looks like a Super Bowl team and an MVP when they’re playing the Bengals.
Ravens by 6
Arizona (plus 11) at San Francisco
Jimmy GQ definitely did not look like an MVP Monday night, and the Cardinals almost got the 49ers the first time around.
Take the points and run.
49ers by 3
Cincinnati (plus 10.5) at Oakland
The Raiders haven’t been a double-digit favorite since 1984.
I just made that up, but you believed me.
Raiders by 67
New England (minus 3.5) at Philadelphia
Bill Belichick had two weeks to get ready for this Super Bowl LII rematch, and New England is coming off its first loss of the season.
Expect a whole lot of cheating.
Patriots by 10
Chicago (plus 6.5) at Los Angeles Rams
The oddsmakers apparently think the defending NFC champion Rams are still good.
Bears by 12
Kansas City (minus 3.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City has not ruled out having a representative at Kaepernick’s workout.
Maybe they are finally going to admit they made a huge mistake when trading up to draft Patrick Mahomes.
Chefs by 21
Having a seat: Packers, Titans, Giants, Seahawks.