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The NFL season is 17 weeks long, but teams, players and organizations always want to get off to a good start. Week 1 can set the tone for the entire season or put a team in an immediate state of panic. We dive into the biggest disappointments from the NFL’s opening weekend.

1. The Cleveland Browns

A consensus pick to go to the Super Bowl, the Browns reminded everyone that they are still the Browns until they aren’t. Adding major stars to your roster doesn’t just make you a good team. You have to do it in all three phases, with everyone playing as a cohesive unit, week in and week out. The Browns under new head coach Freddy Kitchens didn’t do it as they suffered an embarrassing defeat in their home opener against the Tennessee Titans.  They lost 43-13, a 30-point loss in their home opener when they’re supposed to be a Superbowl contender! The Browns’ postgame meal was a large slice of humble pie. Let’s see what kind of character they have after a complete dismantling in their own building. They go to New York to take on the Jets next Monday night in primetime.

2. The Miami Dolphins

OK, we knew they would be bad, but this bad?  The Dolphins allowed scoring records to be set left and right as they gave up nearly 60-points to the Baltimore Ravens. They looked inept. It’s one thing to not have talent and to tank, but at least play hard! The Dolphins host Tom Brady and the Patriots next weekend.  Good luck.

3. The New York Giants Pass Defense

After a strong preseason and a rebuilt culture, the Giants came into week 1 full of belief and confidence. All of which dissolved quickly on the realization they can’t cover receivers or tight ends and they can’t rush a quarterback. The Giants pass defense made Dak Prescott look like Joe Montana as he racked up over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, while hardly breaking a sweat. The G-men managed a stout run defense and their offense looked fluid, but we don’t think they can stop anyone with an average, or better, passing game. The Giants will host the Buffalo Bills next Sunday in their home opener.

4. The Pittsburgh Steelers

All the talk about cleaning up the locker room and setting the tone for a new culture is great, until you lose by 30-points in primetime. The Steelers didn’t make the Patriots work for one minute of their Sunday Night Football clash and looked to be way behind on the execution side of things. If their culture is strong, they can rebound, but their performance level is in question. The Steelers host a strong Seattle Seahawks team next week in their home opener.

5. New York Jets Kicker, Kaare Vedvik

The Jets have enough talent to be a winning team this season and potentially make the playoffs. Their offense looked good and defense was solid as long as linebacker C.J. Mosley was on the field. Their kicker however, a question mark coming into the season, cost them the game Sunday. He missed an extra point and a field goal. The Jets lost by one point. Vedvik needs to turn it around quickly or he will be jobless before October.
For the second straight year in Flushing Meadows, Serena Williams found herself in a U.S. Open Final against a rising young teenage star. Last year, Serena fell to 17 year old Naomi Osaka of Japan in straight sets, only to do the same Saturday afternoon to Canadian Bianca Andreescu who is just 19 years old. Ever since giving birth to her daughter in September of 2017, Serena has been unable to win a grand slam. She lost in the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in consecutive attempts. It’s as frustrating as it gets because this Open was her best chance to win one and tie with Margaret Court (24) for the most women’s grand slam titles. Serena sits at 23 and she’s 36 years old. Time is not on her side. Andreescu, on the other hand, makes history, becoming the first Canadian man or woman to win the U.S. Open, a year after Osaka was the first Japanese born to accomplish the feat. Andreescu’s power was like nothing Serena had seen all tournament. She managed to close out Serena in straight sets even as Williams came back from being 5-1 down to tie it at 5-5 in the second set. Andreescu is now 11-0 against top 10 players in her career. For Williams, maybe the best female tennis player of all time, losing to two teenagers in consecutive U.S. Open finals is something of a shock. Her experience should have propelled her, but it was her age that actually worked against her. Though the power side of her game remains strong, Williams’ is getting slower and older while the game is getting fitter and younger. Her window is nearly shut on breaking Court’s record. Her next chance is the 2020 Australian Open – she’ll be one year older.

In the new world of media, content companies must make all their offerings available to their audience wherever and however they want it – broadcast, cable, PC or stream, mobile or wired, scheduled or on-demand.  In that regard, our friends at Apple Music will be launching a browser version of its music streaming service. Paid subscribers will be able to access the streaming service from any web browser by logging in using their Apple ID. The browser version of the application is currently in beta, offering listeners full access to their playlists and Beats 1 Radio. As part of the overall strategy, Apple confirmed that it is withdrawing iTunes and replacing it with a new package: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. Apple clearly has a strategy for matching every new trend in music technology with a clear and impactful response.

Social media often functions, wittingly or unwittingly, as a major form of advertising.  When users post pictures of themselves drinking Pepsi, they are unwittingly promoting it. Given the incredible amounts of time that millions of people spend on social media, it makes sense that companies would be looking to social media for predicable, controlled advertising solutions. To that end the NFL recently announced a new collaboration with TikTok, a social media service owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The NFL hopes that TikTok will help to get popularity points with its generation z users given that it was the third most downloaded application in the US during the first quarter of this year. The need comes after Morning Consult data showed that football is losing popularity among younger people – TikTok’s audience – because they’re watching less TV and they’re playing less football because of head injury concerns. The NFL is going where their future audience is to drive them back into the fold. Adapt or die.
Motion picture entertainment is always shifting. It went from theaters to TV to cable and now to digital streaming.  Each change has given consumers’ new advantages. The latest, streaming services, offer users the ultimate flexibility to watch movies when and where they want. Major entertainment distributors are taking note and adjusting accordingly. HBO Now is a streaming service of the cable channel.  Disney Plus is a streaming service that allows an entertainment conglomerate to control content from all its subsidiaries and CBS All Access is a streaming service for a traditional TV network.

Monthly Plan Prices

  • HBO Now | $14.99
  • Netflix HD Quality Plan | $12.99
  • Disney Plus | $12.99
  • Hulu (without ads) | $11.99
  • Showtime | $10.99
  • Prime Video only | $8.99
  • Hulu (with ads) | $5.99
  • CBS All Access | $5.99

Movie Selection

  • Prime Video | 14,210
  • Netflix | 3,803
  • Hulu | 1,437
  • HBO | 926
  • Showtime | 489

TV Offerings

  • Prime Video | 2,317
  • Netflix | 1,966
  • Hulu | 1,931
  • HBO | 189
  • Showtime | 70
Quantity doesn’t always mean quality.  Just because Prime Video has the most movies and TV shows does not mean it has the best titles. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are nearly equal when it comes to the number of “high quality” movies offered as defined by Reelgood – a “high quality” movie as has an IMDB rating of 7.5 or higher.

High Quality Movies

  • Prime Video | 125
  • Netflix | 124
  • Hulu | 52
  • HBO | 32
  • Showtime | 32
With this information, you can make an informed decision about where to spend your entertainment dollars.
Internet security in the world of social media is a huge issue. The social media giants are trying to develop the best methods for making their services safe for users. Most notably, Twitter announced that it is suspending its text messaging service to prevent hackers from taking over an innocent party’s account because of two eye-catching intrusions.  News about the suspension came last Wednesday, shortly after hackers briefly hacked actress Chloe Grace Moretz’s account. Infiltrators tweeted several insane news posts including one that began with a series of memes featuring an obese Bugs Bunny. Twitter temporarily disabled the tweeting feature via SMS or text message to protect her account. This came a week after the hack that really got the company’s attention, the one in which Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey’s account was hijacked.  In his case the hackers took the opportunity to convey racist and misogynistic comments to his four million followers. Both accounts were restored shortly after the errant tweets were deleted. Twitter explained that the phone number associated with the accounts had been compromised due to a security check by a mobile service provider.  It turns out that Twitter’s SMS feature allows users, whose phone number is linked to an account, to post tweets by sending a text message to a code associated with their mobile service provider. This allows hackers, who have successfully stolen numbers from a wireless service provider, to send tweets by text message from the compromised phone number. According to Twitter, the security team is working to secure the feature and re-enable it as soon as it’s safe. In light of these public embarrassments, Twitter has recently introduced a number of new tools intended to make the platform more secure; these include a new filter that sorts messages that may contain offensive content into a separate inbox and a new moderation policy to examine posts that are reported to the platform for targeting specific religious groups. These big name hacks and the $170 million fine imposed on Google for failing to protect the privacy of children has awakened many tech giants to the understanding that user safety is essential to their bottom line.
Are you familiar with Tinder’s swipe left for yes, swipe right for no model? The online dating application’s selection style has become a standard for their platform and beyond. Now it’s making its way to Google. In a world in which there is an unfathomable amount of content to select from, viewers often find themselves stuck in a continuous cycle of decision making. Google is here to fix that thanks to their version of the swipe left/right idea model. Google Search product manager Matt Sheets explains, “Starting today in the US, when you search for things like ‘good shows to watch’ or ‘what to watch’ on mobile, you can tap the start button in the ‘Top picks for you’ carousel to begin rating TV shows and movies. You can swipe through to make some recommendations to start getting personalized choices, tailored just for you.” Once you have made your selection, the search tool also helps you find where it is available, be it Netflix, Amazon, HBO, or on cable television. The system will become more intelligent based on your prior selections.
British actor Sacha Baron Cohen has been known throughout his career for playing silly, politically incorrect and at times extremely controversial characters. In his self-created films such as Borat and Bruno and in his role in Talladega Nights as well as in his TV work as Ali-G and on his recent show Who is America, his hilarious, yet slightly disturbing roles define Cohen. Resume aside, Sacha is returning in a new Netflix, 6-episode mini series, The Spy that is a very serious role. The series is based on true events.  Cohen plays the role of Eli Cohen (not related), an Israeli accountant who infiltrated Syria as a deep cover Mossad agent for six years in the 60’s. The older Cohen was behind enemy lines gathering information about Syria’s military plans while posing as Kamel Amin Thaabet, a patriotic Syrian shipping magnate. Like Sacha Baron Cohen’s movie characters, Eli Cohen got results by going deep into character, but for real.  Cohen playing the role of a undercover spy is rather poetic. The Spy is now available on Netflix.

For kids of today, it is hard to imagine a time when you couldn’t sign-in online via your gaming system to drop into a virtual world to compete against online friends in various mini games, ie. Fortnite.  It was, however, a reality during the 90’s, as video games made their march toward what they have become, that you needed to have your friends over the house to compete. Oh the horror! Joking aside, the 90’s boasted some of the best video games ever.  We take a look at our top 5 timeless classics:

Super Smash Bros

This Nintendo 64 classic was a childhood favorite for any 90’s gamer. It’s one of the few games on this list that’s still played today. There was nothing like having three other friends over to compete, 2v2 or in a battle royale, with some of your favorite Nintendo characters like Zelda, Mario and Kirby. The title expanded over the years with new levels and new characters, most notably the Pokemon era. Was there anything better than being Super Smash Bros champ of the house?

Roller Coaster Tycoon

Who wasn’t an expert at running a theme park in the 90’s? This PC simulation game allowed users to construct and manage their very own theme park. From building the wildest roller coasters, managing prices at the park and concessions, overseeing park staff to ensuring the safety of guests, Roller Coaster Tycoon was the first business experience for many children growing up in that generation.

Mortal Kombat Series

Here is a classic title that has expanded through the years into something far bigger than developers ever could have imagined when the first version was released in arcades. Yes, you used to have to go to an Arcade to play this video game. As the game evolved through the years into versions with better graphics and response times, the classic characters remained. Choosing your destiny with the likes of Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub Zero and Jax was a staple throughout the series. There was nothing better than “finishing him” at the end of a flawless round.  Mortal Kombat even had a movie made in honor of it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as the game.

Mario Kart 64

Yet another Nintendo classic, Mario Kart 64, was the first racing game for thousands of kids throughout the 90’s. Users selected their favorite Super Mario franchise characters, raced through tracks such as Rainbow Road and Bowser’s Castle, all the while dodging shell missiles and banana peels in the process. The power-ups made the races the most fun and there was nothing better than picking up a star when in second place on the last lap.

007 Golden Eye

One needs to look back at the graphics from Nintendo’s 007 Golden Eye to really understand how far gaming has come. At the time, it was the best and coolest shoot’em up game out there. Based on the James Bond movie, Golden Eye had an interactive story mode that built around the movie as well as a super competitive multiplayer mode for up to four players.

Other notables:

  • Legend of Zelda Series
  • The Sims Series
  • Sonic The Hedgehog Serie
  • Super Mario World
  • Doom
Female icon Nicki Minaj has decided to quit her music career at least for now. Reason: to focus on starting a family. Minaj, is 36 years old, has been atop the female rap game for a decade, sees the window closing on settling down and having a couple kids. The announcement came in the form of a typical Minaj tweet, “I’ve decided to retire & have my family. I know you guys are happy now. To my fans, keep reppin me, do it til da death of me, (X) in the box- cuz ain’t nobody checkin me.” Though she has mentioned that she is planning on getting married very soon, some have suggested that the announcement is “fake news,” that Nicki only did this for attention or that it’s an act of spite to her haters.  It actually makes sense for her to step away at least for a little while. Minaj has sold millions of albums since her first release Pink Friday in 2010 and she’s done major collaborations with famous artists such as Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Madonna. Her work as gotten her ten Grammy nominations, five MTV Video Music Awards, nineteen BET Awards and the record for the most Billboard Hot 100 entries by a female solo artist. If this is the end, it has been one heck of a career. We just don’t think it is. Just imagine the return of Nicki Minaj as a mom, still beefing with Cardi B. That will be fun.