Thursday, January 25, 2007

NFL Miscellany

Wow, the one matchup I not only didn’t anticipate, but didn’t want to see, has come into being: Colts vs. Bears. This column was once again incorrect in a game involving Indianapolis, making it a playoff hat trick. Wonder if the choice for the Super Bowl will keep that record intact?

We’re in the down period as far as pre-game hype is concerned, as the teams and the media have yet to descend upon Miami. Once there, we can look forward next week to a slew of articles and video stories about, well, pretty much nothing. Below is a quickie summary of what you can look forward to reading and hearing about.

Peyton Manning – The Monkey Is Off His Back
Tony Dungy/Lovie Smith – Hey, has anyone noticed that both guys are black?
Tank Johnson – Ankle bracelet: yes or no?
Marvin Harrison – He’s the Anti T.O., which is why we won’t talk to him
Rex Grossman – Just how bad will he be?
Archie/Eli Manning – Why are we talking to you guys again?

The best show to watch, if you’re a fan, is the NFL Matchup show on ESPN. Ron Jaworski, Merril Hoge and Sal Palantonio actually break down game film and provide real insight as to what might actually happen on the field. They do so without the stupid ass frat boy laughing at our dumb jokes style found on each and every pregame show. I mean, if Shannon Sharpe, Dan Marino, Howie Long, Jerome Bettis and Chris Berman were as funny as their respective co-panelists would lead one to believe, they’d be headlining in Vegas. No human interest stories either on the Matchup, just nuts and bolts gridiron talk. It's refreshing to find a show on ESPN devoid of cross-promotional Disney crap and/or "look-at-how-hip-we-are" posturing.

See, I just saved you lots of valuable time. You’re welcome.

In other NFL News this week, Bill Parcells has retired again. The Tuna has been an example of the law of diminishing returns over the years, making more money at each coaching gig while having his teams never reach the level reached at his immediately preceding job:

Giants - Won two Super Bowls
Pats – Won AFC Championship, lost Super Bowl
Jets – Won wild card and divisional playoff games, lost AFC Championship
Cowboys – Lost two wild card games in four seasons

It’s hard to say whether or not Parcells is the latest example of a coach getting older, then having a more difficult time relating to “today’s players”, whatever that means. Every time someone brings that up, I remind myself that he coached Lawrence Taylor, quite possibly the craziest character ever to play the game. Of course the media throngs lined up in front of T.O. to get his opinion on the Tuna’s retirement, and #81 was just as classy as ever:

When I talked to [Parcells] for the first time we left an impression on each
other. I still think he is a great guy. But he is like my grandmother. You love
the person, but they are stuck in their old-school ways. You can't move them
from their way of thought

Hey, here’s a thought: maybe T.O. is simply as uncoachable idiot. To be among the five most thrown to receivers in the NFL (as he was in 2006), lead the league in drops (which he did in 2006), and still have the stones to complain about not being used properly (which he did, this week), well, that’s just hard to understand. He’ll be lots of fun as his skills diminish and he’s the last person to figure it out. It’s not too hard to see the image of a 39 year-old Owens suiting up for the Texans and bitterly complaining he isn’t getting the ball enough. Here's another thought: maybe if you guys stopped sticking a microphone in his face after every little event, and didn't deem his every utterance "newsworthy", maybe, just maybe, he'd go away.

As for Parcells, would it really be that much of a surprise to see A.) some desperate lowly team (Raiders?) offer him a contract within the next 2-3 years, or B.) see him dance around the topic with the media before finally accepting it? See you on a pregame show soon, you big lug!

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