In tribute to the great Peter King of Sports Illustrated fame, I’ve decided to do my own version of his Monday Morning Quarterback column. The only difference, (besides the fact that he’s a professional and I’m just paying tribute/ripping him off), is that I won’t be injecting any liberal political views into the column. You could say that I’m searching for inspiration, as my freshman comp professor once told me—if you need inspiration, just start writing about anything, inspiration will eventually come. So this is me trying to get over a temporary bout of writer’s block.
I love the NFL, and think that Chris Berman of ESPN has the greatest job in the world. Well, ok, maybe that guy who takes all the pictures for the Victoria’s Secret catalog might have a good one, too, but since I know very little about lingerie models and even less about photography, Berman’s job at least sounds attainable. But to get paid to watch football and then talk about it for hours, I can see how the man found happiness in his chosen career. We should all be so lucky. But since I’m not that lucky, I’m just writing this column for the love of the game. On to the rankings--
1) Indianapolis Colts. They’ve got two weeks to prepare, so this might be the year that they finally slay the New England dragon. If not, then Peyton Manning will supplant Jim Kelley and Dan Marino in the pantheon of Great Quarterbacks Who Could Never Win The Big One.
2) Pittsburgh Steelers. I love watching these guys play. And Bill Cowher is probably my favorite coach in the NFL
3) New York Giants. I think they showed who the 800-pound gorilla is in the NFC.
4) Denver Broncos. They beat the stuffing out of a supposedly decent Eagle team. And they played smart, too.
5) Carolina Panthers. Under the radar, but people are starting to notice.
6) New England Patriots. Still the champs, at least until February. Or January if they lose any more players.
7) Atlanta Falcons. I’m afraid that if they were in the AFC, their record would be much worse.
8) Cincinnati Bengals. The Boise State of the NFL. Nice record, but they haven’t beaten too many ranked opponents.
9) Seattle Seahawks. Honestly I haven’t paid much attention to them. But being in the NFC, they should probably be ranked lower.
10) Dallas Cowboys. They could be ranked higher, but beating the Arizona Cardinals is kind of like the NFL equivalent of a homecoming game against Troy State. And nobody has forgotten about that last-minute interception Bledsoe tossed last week against the Seahawks, either.
11) Jacksonville Jaguars. I think they’re better than this. But I’ve been on their bandwagon for years, so maybe it’s just wishful thinking.
12) San Diego Chargers. With better coaching, they’d be a top-five team with a near undefeated record
13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Losing to the Niners? WTF?
14) Kansas City Chiefs. Too many good teams in the AFC. I have to put them somewhere.
15) Chicago Bears. But only their defense.
Offensive Player of the Week—Ricky Williams of the Miami Dolphins. You can just tell by looking at him that the guy smells like a combination of Forman’s basement and a duffle bag full of dirty laundry after a three-month expedition up the tributaries of the Amazon. Oh, you meant ‘offensive’ as in the guys in the ‘skill positions’. Ok, actually the award goes to Jake Plummer of the Denver Broncos for putting up such gaudy numbers in the blowout win over the Eagles—309 yards passing, four touchdowns, no interceptions.
Defensive Player of the Week—San Diego rookie outside linebacker Shawne Merriman with two sacks and a forced fumble against Trent Green.
Coach of the Week—Tim Lewis, Defensive Coordinator for the NY Football Giants. 36-0 over the Redskins. Maybe they were playing on pure emotion, but the G-Men completely foiled any Redskin attempt to move the ball.
Goat of the Week—Pacman Jones of the Tennessee Titans for his lame girly-man tackle attempt on Jerry Porter of the Raiders. Porter saw pay dirt ahead of him, and Pacman was the only Titan in the neighborhood. Instead of an open field lower-body tackle that every coach from Pop Warner on up preaches in every practice, Pacman threw an elbow that any self-respecting NBA rebounder would’ve laughed at, and Porter ran right through it for the touchdown. If this were training camp, Pacman would be getting a blanket party from his teammates tonight.
Homer Simpson Quote of the Week
“It doesn’t mean anything, it’s just a nonsense word they put into songs--like Rama Lama Ding Dong or Give Peace A Chance…”
Factoid That May Only Interest Me
I just found out that Kim Basinger is 51 years old. Holy Shit. GILF! She’s definitely one of my favorites on the Senior Tour, though.
Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week.
Ok, maybe not ‘travel’ per se, but more along the lines of commuting. Why can’t the city engineers program stoplights to turn green when cars are waiting? I swear, it never fails that cars are backed up in three directions at major intersections, yet the direction with no traffic stays green an extra ten to fifteen seconds longer than it needs to be. I’m just one car idling away getting irritated at the situation. If some math major can extrapolate that wasted time onto all of the cars at all of the intersections in a city the size of Las Vegas, I’d imagine the gas savings would be substantial if it could be fixed. Not to mention emissions and all that global warming stuff people seem to concern themselves with. In the meantime, I’m going to do my part for the environment and just run the light if nobody is coming.
Stat Of The Week
Cato June of the Indianapolis Colts leads the league with five interceptions. You can make some money at the bar with knowledge like this, because nobody else has ever heard of him. And courtesy of SportsCenter, the NY Jets quarterbacks have had over 200 pass attempts so far this season, with just three touchdowns. LaDanian Thomlinson of the Chargers has had three pass attempts so far this season. All three were for touchdowns.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1) Only two years left of the DirectTV monopoly on showing all of the NFL games. That’s a real bitch to those of us non-homeowners out here in flyover country that aren’t allowed to mount a satellite dish. Hopefully Cox Cable will get a piece of that pie next time around. When I first got to Vegas, I thought it would be cool to have all these sports books available so that I could watch every game. But after working till four or five a.m. every Sunday morning, I just don’t feel like getting up and driving down to the Strip and fighting for a seat. There is something to be said for lying around in your boxers watching football in bed and eating leftover pizza.
2) I think Howie Long picked the wrong weekend to do the video segment about ‘Washington’s Surprising Offense’.
3) I think that when San Diego wins games, it’s in spite of Marty Schottenheimer, not because of him.
3a) And I think LaDanian Thomlinson is the best player in the NFL today.
3b) And/ as much as I hate to admit it, I think Eli Manning is making great progress to becoming the best quarterback in the league. Of course he’s got to surpass his big brother to get to that mountaintop.
4) I think that maybe Jake Plummer has finally Figured It Out. I remember earlier in the season one of the analysts on ESPN giving him high praise as a great quarterback to have when you’ve got a big lead. I don’t know if that’s really praiseworthy, because I think a great come-from-behind quarterback would be much more valuable. I also remember that one of the best-ever talent evaluators, Bill Walsh, said that Plummer reminded him of a young Joe Montana. That window of opportunity for greatness has likely passed, but it’s nice to see a Sun Devil doing well.
5) I think I’m glad that the Texans are finally off the schnide. Troy Aikman went 1-15 back in 1989 and three years later won the Super Bowl. I’m not so sure David Carr can repeat that feat with Dom Capers on the sidelines.
5a) Speaking of coaches on the NFL Death Watch, I hope Jeff Fisher doesn’t lose his job in Tennessee. With Dave Wannstedt gone back to college, that would leave a dearth of good porn ‘staches in the NFL.
6) I don’t think there is anything more enjoyable than seeing the Philadelphia Eagles getting the crap kicked out of them. And they have a lot more problems than Donovan McNabb’s hernia or T.O.’s real estate ventures. Ok, maybe more enjoyable than seeing the Iggles get smacked is watching Shannon Sharpe do halftime highlights. It’s almost as fun as that season that NBC paired up Magic Johnson and Marv Albert to call NBA games.
7) I think Michael Irvin has finally surpassed both Stuart Scott and Deion Sanders as The Most Annoying Black Man Talking About Football. The only thing that will make me reach for the remote faster than him speaking is one of those commercials that feature a crying baby.
8) Although you never want to see somebody go down with a heart ailment, I can assure you that nobody is happier than I am about Mike Martz getting the boot in St. Louis. Now they might start winning the close games again. And they might start using their running backs, too.
9) College Football Thoughts—
9a) I should’ve bet the entire paycheck on Georgia losing to Florida. They can never beat them--yeah, I know they did last year, but that was a fluke. Nothing is more of a sure bet than the Bulldogs losing to the Gators every year--especially if it’s more important for the Dawgs to win. As a huge Georgia fan, nothing about college football pisses me off more than this. And one of these days, I’m finally going to make it to The World’s Largest Cocktail Party and break the trend. So if sometime in the future you see a drunk fat guy getting hauled off the field in handcuffs after setting the Florida quarterback on fire, please send bail money to Hurricane Mikey, Care Of the Jacksonville police department
9b) UCLA looks amazing. There is no better fourth-quarter team in the NCAA right now. The looming showdown in December against the Men of Troy is shaping up to become one of the all-time great matchups.
9c) I think the weak Big XII is going to hurt Texas and it’s chances of going to Pasadena this year, especially if Virginia Tech remains unbeaten. Looks like another black eye for the BCS, which is actually a good thing. Can we finally junk this ridiculous system and give the fans what we want—a playoff system?
9d) Fisher DeBerry said nothing offensive or untrue. Yet the vocal minority of the Perpetually Offended has to gather the pitchforks and torches and go on the march to correct this ‘injustice’.
9e) Charlie Weiss got his contract extended to 2015 at Notre Dame. I’ve never been much of a fan of the Golden Domers, but the work he’s done there this year with none of his own recruits is nothing short of amazing. College football is always more interesting when Notre Dame is doing well. Almost makes me want to jump on their bandwagon. Almost.
9f) Steve Spurrier beat Tennessee again. That’s almost as shocking as a WNBA player announcing that she is a lesbian. But I’m sure the Ol’ Ball Coach enjoyed that victory almost as much as I did.
10) Here are my non-football thoughts for the week
10a) I wish the fluid in Zippo lighters didn’t evaporate so fast
10b) Is there any better smell on an autumn afternoon than a wood fire? Well, ok the smell of an Eagles defeat is pretty good too, but burning wood has a more universal appeal.
10c) I think those guys that make antifreeze have a pretty good marketing department. Taking half of their product out of the gallon jug, filling it up with water, calling it ‘pre-mixed’, and then charging just as much as before. Pretty clever.
10d) How much do you think the makers of Viagra/Cialis/Levitra would pay for Hugh Hefner to be their celebrity spokesman? Hef could name any price and get it.
10e) I think Anheuser Busch should start marketing Amber Bock as ‘The Only Dark Beer That Doesn’t Give You Nasty Farts’
10f) I know that baseball season is finally over, but I think that if I were a major-league closer, a la Trevor Hoffman, my ‘walking in from the bullpen’ music would be The Final Countdown by Europe.
10g) Sometimes I stay awake at night trying to decide between the Chrysler 300 or the new Dodge Charger. Of course, I can afford neither, but I’ve probably spent more brainpower on that debate than I have on the flat tax/Fair Tax issue.
10h) Soccer will never catch on here in the USA, no matter how bad the soccer geeks wish it would. Apparently, we are in the middle of the MLS playoffs. Did you know that? And when the average American sports fan can name more WNBA players than MLS players, I think the league is in serious trouble.
10i) I have to say that I’m deeply in favor of the current trend of chick’s Halloween costumes that lean toward the slutty nurse, slutty vampire, slutty anything side of the holiday spectrum. Last night at work a gal walked through the casino wearing nothing but bunny ears, a tight pink tank top, lace panties, and high-heeled boots. That’s it. Like she totally forgot to wear pants. Made my whole night. Of course when people ask what costume I’m going to wear tonight, I have to tell them that I’m dressing up as a blackjack dealer.
Don Francisco’s Hawaiian Hazelnut, with a splash of hazelnut creamer, served in my favorite GRITS cup (Girls Raised In The South), is a great way to start a Sunday morning. And it comes with none of that pretentious ‘Venti’ bullshit, either.
Who I Like Tonight, And I Don’t Mean That Cocktail Waitress With the Nice Rack, Great Smile, and Sultry Blue Eyes
Pittsburgh. Take the money line. Of course it doesn’t pay that much, but a sure thing never does. And it’s less work than collecting aluminum cans or donating plasma.