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Random Shots - Week 17

Hi Folks,

I think it's fitting that the regular season wraps up this time of year. Because for me, the NFL season is sort of like Christmas: Tons of anticipation and then it seems to be over before I know it.

I think this has been my favorite season ever. But then I say that every year. I admit it, I'm an NFL junkie. And I'm guessing the fact you're reading this in late December puts you pretty far up the NFL Junkie scale too.

It's ok. They say Recognition is the first step...

Seriously, part of the fun in writing this column is that every week, I know I'll get to share some thoughts with folks like yourself who love football as much as I do. And that strikes me as a very good thing. I've had a blast throwing out my goofy thoughts this season. And I've chuckled at the emails from people telling me they've thought some of the same things as they were watching the games. (the fact these people are having the same thoughts as me should probably concern them....)

Before this turns into a Hallmark card / Winston Wolfe scene, let's get on with this. As I wrap up the regular season in this week 17, I've pulled up some of the more interesting things I remember seeing during the year. I figured if Hilary Duff can have a "Greatest Hits" CD, why not Random Shots?

Bottom line is this thing has been an absolute gas to create for you guys. It's my sincerest hope that you've enjoyed reading it 10% as much as I enjoyed writing it. We'll do it again next season. If you've got thoughts and ideas on how this thing can be better, or just want to yell at me about Deuce McAllister, feel free to shoot me a line at

Here's to Football,


Week 2

If you haven't seen them yet, the new Sunday Ticket features are awesome. I feel like Norm on Cheers when he got the job as the beer taster. The guy called me from DirecTV and asked if I'd like to see eight games on one screen. And I asked him if he was born in a manger...

I'm with's Gregg Easterbrook on loving the Bills 1965 Jack Kemp throwback uniforms: "These uniforms feature red, white and flag blue -- not to put too fine a point on it, but the single most successful color scheme in world history." They should keep those all year.

Fast Willie Parker. That's all I'm saying there. Say it with me, Fast Willie Parker.

Is there a worse commercial on TV than the Snickers spot where the hunters throw candy bars at the deer? I guarantee you the guy who signed off on that train wreck has bookmarked. (Joe's note: Fifteen weeks later, I can say without hesitation that "yes" there are worse commercials than the Snickers "Deer" commercial - Pretty much every other commercial Snickers has done this season.)

This used to be an "out on the limb" statement but I think after this weekend, it's pretty obvious: Priest Holmes isn't the most talented running back in Kansas City.

Kurt Warner was Arizona's leading rusher. Chew on that one for a minute...

Watching the Sunday night game, I couldn't help but think of Happy Gilmore after he learned to putt. The Colts learned how to play deeeeee-fense. Uh-ohhhhhhhhhhh.

Week 3

Attention Tatum Bell owners: Just in case you weren't aware of this, Mike Shanahan really does hate you.

Why didn't Miller Beer get Patricia Arquette to do the voice for the "Girl In the Moon" ad? If you're going to do a blatant rip off of True Romance, at least get the voice right.

Maybe my favorite play of the week: 245 pound Eagles linebacker Mark Simoneau putting his mouthpiece in before kicking the extra point with David Akers hurt. You're probably getting used to seeing all the WRs wearing jersey numbers in the teens but when a #53 kicks the extra point, that grabs your attention.

Say it with me: "I will ignore the words 'potential, talented and former MVP' when thinking about Denny Green and the Arizona Cardinals and I will not buy into the hype".

One of my favorite real NFL players is Trent Dilfer. He just seems like a good guy and it's great to see him have success in Cleveland. Matt Hasselbeck speaks glowingly of how Dilfer was such a help in mentoring him in Seattle. That's cool. Jon Kitna is the same kind of guy. Dilfer was good at the press conference when asked about his role. He deflected the question saying, "The face of our team is Charlie Frye". He laughed and then said, "I'm getting funnier the older I get." (This was funnier for Dilfer in week 3)

Speaking of Chicago rookies, Cedric Benson didn't endear himself to Bears fans as he caused the team to burn a timeout when he lined up in the wrong spot. Didn't he have all summer to learn that stuff in camp? Oh, that's right...

Kurt Warner opened against the Giants. His second game was against the Rams. I'm hearing they're trying to work out a scrimmage Friday against the Iowa Barnstormers to keep the string going.

If Eli Manning ever leaves New York, I hope he goes to Tampa so we can have Manning, Simms and Griese as the quarterbacking corps.

When asked what was wrong with the Vikings, cornerback Fred Smoot said, "I can't tell you, baby. That's a question you'll have to ask Dr. Phil." (This was funnier before the Love Boat Cruise)

Speaking of Smoot, he and Chad Johnson had the pre game smack talk going and the two obviously had fun with it. During pre game stretching, Johnson told Smoot, "I aint gonna wear no underwear today. I aint wearing no underwear."

Smoot said, "You aint wearing no underwear? That's good, cuz I'm going to be up your ***.

Johnson laughed hard and playfully tackled him.

Bill Belichick was less talkative than normal after the Carolina game. When asked if it was a defensive breakdown on the 41 yard pass reception by Ricky Proehl, Belichick answered, "We don't have any defenses where the guy runs down the middle of the field and we don't cover him."

Eagles PK David Akers had this to say about his gluteus strain: "It just [stinks]," he said. "It's not something I'd wish on anybody. I felt like Forrest Gump – something bit me on the buttocks."

Favorite commercial this week: Burger King's NFL Films thing where the King intercepts the ball and scores. I love that but I'll admit the big head King guy freaks me out a little.

You have to love the "Trust Jesus" sign in the Black Hole of Oakland.

Is it just me or do the days of Mike Tice celebrating with a chest bump to Randy Moss seem a long time ago?

Titans running back Chris Brown was injured early in the game. Now there's a shock.

Week 4

This may be old news to you but I'm still thinking about it: Big thumbs up to Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis. Weis spent part of last Wednesday visiting ten year old Montana Mazurkiewicz. The boy, named after Notre Dame legend Joe Montana, was gravely ill from an inoperable brain tumor. Weis asked Mazurkiewicz how he could help and the young man responded by asking if he could call the first play. Weis agreed. The boy asked for a "pass right".

Late Thursday, Montana died. Notre Dame took their first possession at their own one yard line. Not exactly ideal field position for a "pass right". Weis never wavered saying he had "no choice" but to run the play he'd promised for Montana. The Irish went with a bootleg pass to the right with quarterback Brady Quinn completing a 13 yard pass to tight end Anthony Fasano.

The team signed the game ball and Weis delivered it to the family on Sunday. Weis said of the Wednesday visit to Montana, "I was able to get a couple smiles out of him. His mom got to take a couple pictures. She said it was the first time he really smiled in about three months."

Think about that for a minute. Here was a ten year old boy with Notre Dame's head coach sitting in HIS room granting HIM the opportunity to call the first play for HIS beloved Irish. Weis was in the unique opportunity to make another human's life a little bit better. More importantly, he didn't fumble the opportunity. If that's too "sappy" or "sentimental" for you, stop reading right here because you and I don't have enough in common for this thing to work.

I hear plenty of people saying the J-E-T-S are D-O-N-E. They're not. Stop whining and get to work. Just like Herm Edwards is doing. (Ok, I was wrong. Turns out they were D-O-N-E in week 4....)

Denver coach Mike Shanahan was fined $20,000 for his comments about the week two officiating in his game. A week one fight on the 50 yard line earned Jeremiah Trotter and Kevin Mathis $5,000 fines. Yeah, that's in line.

Note to John Madden: Manute Bol called and wants his tie back. Did you see that thing he was wearing Monday night? It was so long it looked more like a noose.

Chad Pennington's injury highlighted what most of us have known for a while. There isn't a job opening on the planet with fewer qualified applicants than that of "Quality NFL Starting Quarterback".

Would you have believed me in August if I'd told you that after three weeks, Eli would have more than twice as many touchdown passes as Peyton? Me neither. (Another example of why you don't panic)

Watching TV this weekend I'm convinced of something: I'm officially the last guy in America that doesn't have a tattoo.

I like to try new foods so I picked up some prickly pears from the Mexican market in town. I'll admit the only thing I knew of a prickly pear was from Baloo the Bear's song in Jungle Book. I made a big deal out of it with my kids. We peeled the pears and sliced them up. Guess what? Prickly pears suck. There's a reason you never saw Baloo actually eat these things. Just so you know.

When discussing the Packers woes, most folks point to the loss of guards Mike Wahl and Marco Rivera. That makes sense. Just don't tell Tom Brady. I don't think he knows it's a big problem that he lost left tackle Matt Light and he's got two rookies on his offensive line. Shhhhh.

I watch the Patriots and I just don't believe what I see. The team loses two leaders in Rodney Harrison and Matt Light Sunday. And they actually looked like they were playing better at the end of the game. How is that possible? Bill Belichick could retire today and go down as the best coach in NFL history in my book. He personifies that old Bear Bryant adage: "He can take his players and beat yours. And take your players and beat his." That's great coaching.

Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer lined up under guard Joe Andruzzi Sunday. My kids got a good laugh watching Andruzzi shoo him away.

Jacksonville's Byron Leftwich is one tough quarterback. But why does he put himself in position to take so many hard shots? If you see a linebacker take a QBs head off, you can bet it's Leftwich on the receiving end of the shot.

Favorite line of the week: New York's Vinny Testaverde addressed a large group of reporters and writers after arriving at the Jets complex: "For those of you who don't know, my name's Vinny Testaverde."

Week 5

The NFL's best referee, Ed Hochuli was kind enough to give us a nice interview for our magazine this summer. Incredibly nice and professional guy. He worked the game in Mexico city and won the crowd over immediately when he announced the first penalty with explanation in Spanish. You gotta like that. I switched over to the SAP programming and listened to the Sunday night game in Spanish for a little bit. Those guys get excited.

In case you needed another reason to stay grounded in reality, I offer up Cadillac Williams.

Email of the Week: (and these are parts of it exactly as it came to me)

"in a related note, i was trying to make it through the morass of cliches, statements of the obvious, and maudlin sentiment in 'random shots' and noticed your observation that in regard to the bengals' offense and colts' defense that 'things change fast'--which i've noticed is a regular arrow in your quiver. this only serves to highlight that you are a very poor essayist."

"i have no problem with reading fooball-related information that veers far from statistics and injuries. in fact, i very much search (usually in vain) for sports-related writing that offers something truly informative, unique and interesting (i can look up statistics and results on my own). however, i find your 'random shots', which are supposed to do just that, less than useful."

"you have your hands full waxing poetic that charlie weiss would make time for a dying child. (can you tell me what percentage of adults would not do that? i dont find weiss' actions surprising or newsworthy. decent of course, but worth retelling, no.)"

So buckle up for the morass of maudlin and less than useful sentiments as I reach back to my one arrow quiver. Seriously, if that guy was looking for a good essayist, it's his own fault if he's read much of my stuff. No worries, that's just part of the territory.

The Rams Steven Jackson had a Jerome Bettis like stat line for the first half Sunday. He had 6 rushes for a net of zero yards and 1 TD.

The Eli Manning bandwagon is filling up fast but there are still seats available. I like this young man. But why don't people broadcasting sports see the important stuff? You've seen the highlight of his fade route TD pass to Toomer a dozen times probably. But the most important part of that play is something no one is talking about. Manning recognized the defense at the line, checked out of the play and called the fade to Toomer at the line. Then delivered an absolutely perfect pass for Toomer. You don't see that a lot with a second year guy. Ernie Accorsi isn't looking nearly as stupid as everyone said he was this time last year.

Along that line, I'll say it again: I don't think you can overestimate the value of a premiere QB for your team. Eli Manning isn't there yet but when you talk about the real impact value of a guy like Tom Brady or Donovan McNabb to the business community and team, you're talking hundreds of millions of dollars.

Think you had a rough Sunday? Prior to blowing a blowing a big lead to the Eagles at home, Chiefs tight ends coach Jason Verduzco was trying to drive to the stadium and turned his car into one of the gates in a direction the police didn't want traffic to go. He argued with the cops to the point that two officers tried to physically remove him from his car. He slapped at the officers and then was sprayed with mace according to the police. An ambulance crew washed out his eyes and he went on to the stadium. No wonder Gonzalez didn't do anything.

Tiki Barber and Ronde Barber were funny this week in a radio interview on FOX. Ronde was needling Tiki a little and Tiki replied, "Just wait until we come down there and Elijah throws a beat down on you."

Let me get this right. San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy, in celebration of his team winning the mighty NL West with a record of 82-80, breaks a rib during the post game celebration? I won't even start on the rib thing but who celebrates an 82 win season? Basically, your team didn't suck as bad as the other teams in your division.

Evidently, Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer received the "How to use L.T. For Dummies" book we sent.

You know your team is in trouble when players start carpooling to Dr. Andrews office in Birmingham like the Jets did this week....

Once the games started, ESPN went from their Sunday Countdown show to riveting coverage of the National Scrabble Championship where over 700 players had completed four "brain stretching days". I didn't know they had such a thing.

Terrell Owens was all T.O. Sunday shouting, "I love me some me!" That's a shocker.

Eagles DT Hollis Thomas was funny on the sidelines after Dante Hall's kickoff return TD. He obviously knew he was mic'd and said, "Guys, hard to describe the words I'm feeling right now. Yikes. Dagnabit. Whoa Nelly."

I wonder if the marketing gurus at Visa have any idea that the pop up ad with sound thing they push on the scoreboard where the drive chart should be makes me want to never ever use their product?

Is the dorky guy that hides in the blocking dummy and steals the Cowboys jersey the same guy that's on the credit card commercial where you have to say "no" all the time? How does that guy get all that work?

Week 6

Note to my man Antonio Bryant: Wear a belt, Buddy. We Bryants have a fairly long and distinguished history of shooting the moon in public but I can't say I've ever performed the deed in front of 73,000 plus people like he did after the touchdown Sunday. If you didn't see the play, it wasn't intentional but it was still pretty funny. Antonio – represent.

Everyone always talks about the "Triplets" of Aikman, Smith and Irvin or the Colts' Manning, James and Harrison. I think it's time to start talking about the New England Triplets of Belichick, Brady and Vinatieri.

Have you seen the latest reality TV lamefest that Dick Butkus is doing? It's called "Bound For Glory" and the premise is Butkus goes back to Montour High School to coach. He yells at the kids and questions their heart and basically plays for the camera. But wait, there's more. According to the Pittsburgh Post –Gazette, Butkus bailed on the team with two games left in the season citing he'd fulfilled his contract for the show. Nice lesson on heart there, coach.

Have you ever noticed that players are "old" and "washed" up when they're struggling but the same guy shows "veteran leadership" when he plays well? I love that.

If the Bears don't play the theme from "The Love Boat" when the Vikings take the field Sunday, they're missing a golden opportunity.

Sorry if I'm a little distracted today. Can't pull myself away from that preseason NBA action. Speaking of the NBA, this was too good to pass up. The league has instituted a new dress code rule where players will have to wear a coat and heaven forbid, maybe a tie while traveling. Nuggets center Marcus Camby says the only way players will go along with the dress code is if they receive additional compensation. Said Camby, "I don't see it happening unless every NBA player is given a stipend to buy clothes." In case you were wondering, Camby has a 45 million dollar contract with Denver. In maybe the stupidest quote I've heard in quite some time, Philadelphia's Allen Iverson said players wearing coats and ties "sends a bad message to kids." I swear I don't make these up.

That's it. All Name Team FB Obafemi Ayanbadejo is off the team. He said, "Fantasy football is lame. Period. It's stupid as hell." He'd probably like it more if everyone didn't think he sucked.

How old is Vinny Testaverde? The Jets quarterback coach, Jeremy Bates, was a ball boy for the Browns when Testaverde was in Cleveland. You gotta like that.

Week 7

New Viking offensive lineman Toniu Fonoti was reportedly well over 400 pounds last week. That's a full grown man.

Bill Romanowski used steroids? Now that's a shocker. What's next, Elton John is gay?

I told you last week about Terrell Owens wearing a Michael Irvin jersey after the game where Dallas drubbed the Eagles. Not surprisingly, Irvin defended Owens to ESPN's Tom Jackson. Jackson argued it would have been like John Elway wearing a Howie Long jersey. Irvin said it was different because Long wasn't an all time great. Jackson looked Irvin, who failed to get into the Hall of Fame on his first try, right in the eye and said of Howie Long, "He's a HALL OF FAMER." That pretty much ended that.

How brutal was Tommy Maddox Sunday? At halftime, he was 4 of 13 with 2 interceptions. Sadly, it got worse. A lot worse.

Will Allen is a safety for Tampa Bay. Will Allen is also a cornerback for the Giants. Because I know this stuff keeps you awake at night.

The more I watch football, the more I believe it's about turnovers. The Broncos are on a roll in part because they've turned the ball over exactly zero times over the last four games.

Cowboys wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson reportedly said he was getting tired of running sideline routes. Coach Bill Parcells was asked what he thought about Johnson's statement and Parcells said, "Tell him to get open and we'll throw him something else."

Week 8

Cincinnati's Chad Johnson was funny before the game Sunday. Looking across an empty playing field, Johnson said, "It's 11:25. Why aren't they out here getting ready to play against such a dominant figure as myself? It befuddles me." I love Chad Johnson. With Randy Moss and Torry Holt banged up, Terrell Owens with a limping QB, and Marvin Harrison with a running game, Johnson is my clear cut #1 WR in the league.

Note to Vikings owner Zygi Wilf: Enough of the whining about how everyone knows you inherited this terrible situation. It doesn't work that way. This became your team and your watch the minute you signed on the line. Guys messed up. We get it. But the buck stops on your desk and things will go a lot better if you stop deflecting and pointing to Red McCombs and accept responsibility. In other words, be a leader and be a man and stop pointing fingers at other people.

One last thing on the NBA dress code and I'm done there: ESPN radio host Erik Kuselias had this zinger when describing Allen Iverson's comment that the new dress code sent "a bad message to kids". Kuselias said it was the dumbest thing ever said by an athlete. Which pretty much meant it was the dumbest thing ever said by anyone....

Steve Young was cool this week when asked about Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison breaking the passing record he and Jerry Rice held: "Are you kidding me? These guys are young. They might double it."

The radio announcers for the San Diego feed didn't care for Terrell Owens' "waiter" touchdown celebration. "Gag me with a freakin' spoon" were the exact words. "Gag me with a freakin' spoon"? Who still talks like that?

How volatile is the NFC East? The Cowboys entered week 7 in first place and left it in last place.

God Bless Philly Fans. Fire alarm sirens were wailing during the game as the public address announcer instructed everyone to exit the stadium. And not a single fan moved. As it turned out, that was fine as it was a false alarm. I don't think I've ever seen a fire alarm at a game like that.

What's it like to be a Browns fan? Trailing 10-13, with 1:54 left in the game, they were in pretty good shape with 1st and 10 from their own 40. Two penalties, a sack and an incompletion later, they were punting on 4th and 26.

It wasn't Buddy Ryan, but Bill Parcells swatting away his wide receivers coach Todd Haley was kind of funny.

Do they charge full ticket prices for Kyle Orton vs Anthony Wright?

Week 9

I keep hearing race car driver Danica Patrick talk about how she wants to be taken seriously and to be known as a driver, not just a woman driver. But every time I turn on the TV or see an ESPN magazine, she's running around in her underwear. Pick a lane.

I'm not sure, but I think New England's Tedy Bruschi made a comeback this weekend. You hear anything about that?

Note to Kyle Orton: Lose the neck beard. You're embarrassing yourself. Seriously, doesn't he have a friend or someone that will tell him?

Story headline from the Nashville paper Wednesday: "McNair's Sack Pain Lingers". Why am I stuck in the 8th grade?

San Francisco's Cody Pickett is my new favorite player. With 10:59 left in the 4th quarter, Pickett tackled Mark Jones on a punt coverage. With 10:27 left in the game, he was the quarterback. Pickett had to switch out his normal helmet used for special teams for his quarterback helmet with the speaker in the ear piece. But the bigger question is what in the world is Mike Nolan doing allowing his #2 QB to cover punts?

One of my All Name Team guys is moving up to my real life sleeper picks. Green Bay running back Samkon Gado, the "Nigerian Nightmare" is a guy you'll do well to watch. Like his hero the original Nigerian Nightmare, Christian Okoye, Gado is from Nigeria. If nothing else, you have to like his attitude: "Honestly, wouldn't you smile if you were here?" he says. "I mean, you get to play football for an occupation. That's almost ridiculous." He got into the game for one carry Sunday in relief of Tony Fisher where he ripped off an eight yarder. Grab him now.

Week 10

The best question asked at the Drew Rosenhaus press conference (which was mistakenly billed as a Terrell Owens press conference) was exactly what I bet Owens was thinking. The reporter asked Rosenhaus, "What have you done for [Owens] other than get him kicked off the team?" The bigger lesson for Owens was the answer Rosenhaus gave. "Next question". The next time Mike Irvin says something stupid and a reporter asks Owens what he thinks about it, that might be an answer worth considering.

I'm telling you, don't forget about the Bears.

Serious question – do the programming guys at the NFL Network really think anyone cares about Regina Smith's fantasy team?

Mike Shanahan said he feels a little more comfortable visiting Oakland than he used to: "The group of people who used to throw batteries at me is getting a little older now and they don't have the range they used to have."

The leading receiver for Pittsburgh Sunday? Full back Dan Kreider. With two receptions for 13 yards. Yes, that's the same Dan Kreider that's caught a total of 47 passes in his six year career.

Sad day for Footballguys and our All Name Team: The Packers cut wide receiver Taco Wallace today.

Carolina Panther cheerleaders Renee Thomas and Angela Keathley were arrested at a Tampa nightclub where witnesses reported the two women were having sex with each other in a bathroom stall. Pics here Thomas was charged with battery for allegedly striking a bar patron. Pics here No confirmation yet that the brunette has hired super agent Drew Rosenhaus in hopes of landing the mascot job with the Falcons, Eagles, Cardinals or Ravens....

I'm not hearing nearly as many stupid Ricky Williams jokes this week.

We're nearly to Thanksgiving and Arizona has the same number of rushing touchdowns that I do.

Week 11

I like Herman Edwards. He defended his players after the game: "They're playing as hard as they can play. God gave them so much talent and they're using all the talent they have. They're playing as hard as they can play."

Cardinals second year wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was pretty honest about his rookie season: "I know last year I sucked. I did. Every time I watch the tape from last year, it's embarrassing how much I thought I knew but I didn't know."

My favorite thing I learned about Terrell Owens this week? His middle name is Eldorado. That's the bomb.

Steve Smith shared his secret as to why he runs so fast. The 5' 9" receiver said, "I'm not prototype [size]. I'm running for my life sometimes." His quarterback Jake Delhomme was asked if he thought Smith was faster this year. He said, "I don't know if he's faster. But I'm glad he's fast."

The good news is that Baltimore took the opening drive down the field for a score. The bad news is that they didn't score again.

Did Steelers linebacker Joey Porter pull a T.O. when he appeared on local television with a Browns #53 jersey? No. It was a Bill Cowher jersey from his Cleveland days....

Week 12

I bet President Bush would trade approval ratings with Reggie Bush.

Speaking of that, I have no idea how Reggie Bush is able to run that fast with everyone hanging on his jock. I think he'll be a good pro but forgive me for going against the crowd and asking him to play a few games before we put him in Canton. He's listed at 200 pounds but looks a lot closer to 190 to me.

Attorney David Cornwell is calling Drew Rosenhaus the "Kevorkian of Sports Agents". That's pretty good.

Here's the link to that crazy Brandon Lloyd catch. If he can manage to bring his mental game up to match his physical skills, he'll be a scary player.

Note to Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham: Bono called and wants his glasses back.

Aaron Brooks passed Archie Manning on the Saints all time passing TD list. For what that's worth. (Apparently, not that much....)

Have you ever seen J.P. Losman and Opera Man in the same room? Me neither.

Cowboys offensive tackle Rob Petitti was kicked in the head during Sunday's game and reported that he was feeling the effects. Coach Bill Parcells was asked about him Monday. "He seemed fine today. But him being a little dizzy is kind of normal." I love that guy.

Best ad I saw this week: Miller Lite's court scene where rapper Flavor Flav is introduced as an expert taste witness based on his name.

Joe Horn is unhappy. There's a shocker.

You may not like some of the TD celebrations but if you didn't like Chad Johnson's "proposal" where he ran over to one of the Bengal Cheerleaders and got down on one knee, you need to loosen up.

Week 13

I bet Danny Snyder hasn't been much fun to work with the last two weeks. Just one week after former Redskin coach Norv Turner took one from Washington, another coach axed by Snyder beat the team when Marty Schottenheimer's Chiefs won Sunday. No word if St. Louis is going to bring in Steve Spurrier Sunday to go for the trifecta....

Think the Eagles had a rough week? They put Donovan McNabb, Tra Thomas and Lito Sheppard on IR. Three Pro Bowlers going on Injured Reserve is bad no matter how you slice it.

Mike Ditka is proud of his Bears. Monday, he responded to a Chicago writer who wrote that the Bears weren't ready for a serious run with Kyle Orton. Said Ditka: "First of all, anyone writing anything negative about the Bears in Chicago is an idiot. A first class idiot."

Tampa Bay's Matt Bryant also missed a short field goal that could have tied the game. Jon Gruden was asked Monday how surprising it was that he missed the field goal. Said Gruden, "Gee based on recent history, I'd say pretty surprising. The guy's a hell of a kicker. What kind of a question is that? If I knew he was going to miss it, I'd have gone for it."

New Orleans returned to the Meadowlands Sunday. This time as the "visitor".

As someone who makes a living trying to pull shreds of truth out of what coaches say each week, I can't help but love Bill Belichick. The New England coach was his typical post loss talkative self Monday. He was asked by a reporter if there was anything in Tom Brady's throwing mechanics that was making the ball sail like it did.

Belichick replied, "You're right. He missed them."

Undaunted, the reporter followed up, with "Anything specific Brady was doing?"

Belichick replied, "I'm sure there was."

Think Larry Johnson is the Man in Kansas City? Check out this series:

1-10-KC34 (13:55) Johnson left end to KC 50 for 16 yards
PENALTY on KC-Richardson, Clipping, 10 yards, enforced at KC 41.
1-13-KC31 (13:32) Green pass to Kennison to NE 27 for 42 yards
1-10-NE27 (12:48) Johnson up the middle to NE 25 for 2 yards
2-8-NE25 (12:11) PENALTY on KC-Kennison, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at NE 25 - No Play.
2-13-NE30 (12:00) Johnson left end to NE 23 for 7 yards
3-6-NE23 (11:20) Green pass to Gonzalez to NE 14 for 9 yards
1-10-NE14 (10:38) Johnson up the middle to NE 9 for 5 yards
2-5-NE9 (10:04) Johnson left end pushed ob at NE 2 for 7 yards
1-2-NE2 (9:42) Johnson up the middle to NE 1 for 1 yard
2-1-NE1 (9:07) Johnson up the middle for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.

Did you catch the "interview" Monday night where Stuart Scott "questioned" Mike Irvin about the drug pipe found in his car? I thought Stu and Mike were going to high five at the end there....

Fountains of Wayne is a band that hasn't had great commercial success. But they provide the soundtracks for two great ads out there. One is the Stacey's Mom ad for Dr. Pepper where the boys have a crush on the mom because she has the cooler full of Dr. Pepper. The other is for my hands down best commercial of all time promoting the NFL Network. It takes a little while to download here but it's worth it. Click on the link that says "All Kind of Time" with the picture of Ben Roethlisberger.

Here's what it feels like to be a 49er fan lately:

1-10-SF25 (3:59) Barlow right guard for 75 yards, TOUCHDOWN NULLIFIED by Penalty. PENALTY on SF-Harris, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at SF 25 - No Play.

1-20-SF15 (3:46) Dorsey pass intended for Bajema INTERCEPTED by Bulluck

Adam Schefter hit the nail on the head today drawing the difference between the Lions and some other teams: Detroit's had as many head coaches this week as Pittsburgh's had over the last 36 years.

The Giants committed eleven false start penalties Sunday. Including five on one drive. That's hard to do.

Week 14

It drives me nuts when people throw out the "every time he runs for 100 yards, the team wins" stat as if all you have to do to win is run the ball for 100 yards. I believe that rushing for 100 yards is a byproduct of winning more than a cause. But either way, the numbers for Pittsburgh are pretty compelling. They are 22-0 over the last two seasons when they rush for 100 yards and 0-6 when they're held under 100 yards rushing. Sunday, they were held under 100 yards for the third straight game and the fifth time this season. The Pittsburgh Steelers. Yikes.

Earth, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Earth.

I've ripped on the celebrities in the NFL Network's Fantasy League but Guy Torry saying Lincoln Kennedy was looking sort of "Shrekish" was pretty funny.

The Oakland Raiders were not called for a penalty Sunday. That is news. The last time that happened? 1971.

This year's Jets and Eagles illustrate one of the truths of football. You must have a quarterback to win. Chicago is illustrating part B of that truth: If you don't have a quarterback, you'd better bring an All World defense and a strong running game to the table. Teams like Minnesota and Tampa Bay are giving us part C: Spend wisely on a good to great backup QB.

Do any of you Mike Vick owners worry just a little bit that he's Kordell Stewart with more talent? Even just a little? I'm just askin'...

Great, now I've got to get used to spelling Marques Tuiasosopo on a regular basis. (caught a break on that one. For a while)

I'm stoked the Bears are doing well. I really like saying Adewale Ogunleye. He's my new Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala.

I'm thinking this will be a good offseason to be an aspiring NFL head coach.

Week 15

You think Brad Johnson feels a little old? Johnson and his coach, Mike Tice were team mates back in 1992. If the Vikings keep winning, this will be a very interesting off season for Minnesota and their quarterback position.

Why does Dan Marino have a Samsung TV in his closet? I mean really.

Classic Jumbotron move in Philadelphia Sunday. As New York's Jay Feely lined up for the game winning kick, the Eagles called time out to "ice" the kicker. During the break, the Jumbotron replayed Feely's missed kicks against the Seahawks. He didn't look up and went on to nail the field goal. "The music was eerie so I figured they were playing something like that," Feely said. "I tried to visualize what I needed to do."

You know the Cardinals are just killing defensive end R-Kal Truluck. Truluck was elbowed by Washington's kicker, John Hall and had to sit out the second half with a bruised jaw.

Can they just go ahead and put a red "do not touch" jersey on Michael Vick? It'd save the officials some time.

Michael Strahan sounds like he's not ready to jump to the music business just yet: "I don't want to do a Christmas album right now because if I do, people will want me to retire and go into singing full time."

I'm starting to like this Charlie Frye.

In a league still full of coaching legends like Joe Gibbs and Bill Parcells, would it surprise you to know that Marty Schottenheimer has the most wins of any active coach? In fact, it's not very close.

I've said before there are lots of different ways to win at this level. The 2005 Chicago style with that killer suffocating defense carrying the offense is all well and good until you're trailing by ten. Then that Bengals style starts looking pretty good.

Week 16

I don't know which NFL team will draft him but I know Virginia Tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson has a spot on the All Name Team. I generally don't allow rookies to be captains but I'm thinking about changing that rule here...

Boston's Johnny Damon is now a New York Yankee. As you know, the Yankees don't do the long hair and beard thing. I wonder if we'll hear the cries of racism and cultural insensitivity when Damon has to shave that we heard from the NBA guys over their dress code? I sort of doubt it.

I caught a lot of grief for saying the Colts wouldn't win them all. But I was pulling for them. If nothing else to deny Chris Berman that annoying champagne cork thing.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King wrote this week that less than two hours after the Colts game had ended, King's email box had quotes from seven 1972 Dolphins players, plus coach Don Shula sent from the Dolphins Public Relations staff. That is so lame. In 1972, the Dolphins cake walked through one of the easiest regular season schedules ever. Most people don't remember that. The glee these guys take in the last team losing just makes them look like bitter old men.

Hindsight is twenty / twenty. Said Daunte Culpepper after the charges were levied last week: "If I did anything wrong, it was going to that stupid boat."

Body language says a lot. And the body language the Falcons were speaking Sunday night in the sub zero Chicago temperatures was loud and clear. They were virtually shouting, "I'm cold and I'd rather not be here". Things didn't get any better after half time. Six seconds into the 3rd quarter, they had to call a timeout.

Speaking of Chicago, I didn't agree with switching to Rex Grossman like that but I'm with the rest of the world, he sure brought a spark. Let's not get carried away though, that was an ugly interception at the goal line.

Poor Joe Theisman couldn't flip flop fast enough through the game. As soon as Grossman came in, he spoke up about how he didn't agree with the benching of Orton. After Grossman's fired off a nice pass for a big gain, he couldn't believe they'd waited this long to make the move...

Does anyone tackle anymore? Minnesota's free safety Darren Sharper was featured on a "mic'd up" segment. Of the half dozen hits he was involved in, he didn't use his arms to wrap up once. It's all about the "big hit" now and making Sports Center.

Here's how the Texans' season has gone. In a game they finally led in the second half, the scoreboard in Reliant Stadium stopped working. I'm not making this up.

Week 17

The Colts Tony Dungy speaking moments after his son's funeral gave a little glimpse as to why he's one of the most respected and revered men in the league.

"Did that little weasel Seth Markman send you down here to do this?" Bill Parcells to ESPN reporter Ed Werder asking him whether Werder was attending the Cowboys' press conference in hopes of finding out more about Bill Parcells' plans for 2006.

The Bills defense was ranked #2 for 2003 and 2004. Entering 2005, the team returned most of the same personal but had a disastrous year. Is Takeo Spikes that important? I think they are.

The Ravens front office said they conducted a "thorough evaluation" and they've come to the conclusion that coach Brian Billick gives them the best chance of winning in 2006. Translation: Some late season wins saved his job. And we couldn't find anyone better right now.

I'm loving the Lebron James commercials. Nike is one of a handful of companies that can advertise nothing. They just "are".

Honestly Bills fans, did you really think Losman was the answer?

Nick Saban was pretty funny this week at his press conference. "Maybe I need to bring a damn dictionary in here and define words."

Seattle's Shaun Alexander said something along the lines that he and his coach are now getting on the same page. What that means is that Mike Holmgren now realizes it's easier to baby him making sure he gets the individual records so Alexander doesn't pout.

Carolina's Steve Smith was prophetic before the Dallas game. He said, "The team that makes that fewest mistakes wins". Smith grabbed an official and was ejected. And Carolina lost. To be fair, that was a very borderline "contact" with the official to merit ejection.

I don't understand the praise for these teams who "continue to play hard". Hello. That's their job. These guys are professionals and they're being paid a ton of money. Playing hard is part of the job description.

If Dom Capers is indeed getting the axe in Houston, could he leave a better parting gift than winning this week and severely cramping the Texans' chance for Reggie Bush?

Hard Luck Awards for Week 16 (Renamed the Willis McGahee Awards)

STL QB Martin 30 yard pass to WR Bruce to the 3 (Jackson TD)
JAC RB Taylor 12 yard rush to the 1
JAC RB Taylor minus 1 yard rush to the 2
JAC RB Taylor 1 yard rush to the 1 (Toefield TD)
JAC RB Taylor 14 yard rush to the 2 (Toefield TD)
ARZ QB McCown 47 yard passing TD to WR Johnson nullified by penalty
SEA RB Morris 13 yard rush to the 1 (Alexander TD)
CIN QB Palmer 6 yard pass to WR Houshmandzadeh to the 2 (Perry TD)
BUF QB Holcomb 19 yard pass to WR Moulds to the 4
BUF RB McGahee 3 yard rush to the 1 (Holcomb to Evans TD)
BUF QB Holcomb 11 yard pass to WR Moulds to the 1
BUF RB McGahee rush for no gain from the 1
BUF RB McGahee rush for no gain from the 1 (Yes, twice) (Holcomb TD)
DEN QB Plummer 19 yard pass to WR Smith to the 4
DEN RB Anderson 3 yard rush to the 1 (Plummer TD)
DEN QB Plummer 14 yard pass to WR Smith to the 2 (Anderson TD)
DAL RB Barber 7 yard rush to the 2 (Bledsoe to Glenn TD)
GB QB Favre 1 yard TD pass to T Tauscher nullified by penalty (Herron TD)
NYG QB Manning 36 yard TD pass to WR Toomer nullified by penalty
ATL QB Vick 37 yard pass to WR Jenskins to the 2 (Duckett TD)
NE RB Faulk 8 yard rush to the 1 (Brady to Vrabel TD)
NE RB Dillon 6 yard rush to the 5
NE QB Brady 3 yard rush to the 2 (Brady to Vrabel TD)
NE QB Brady 13 yard pass to WR Brown to the 1 (Dillon TD)

Sometimes it's better to just not know....

Thanks for playing along. I hope you have a gas with whatever you're doing in your life. Here's to Football and we'll do this again next season.

Shoot me an email at if you've got an idea on how to make this better. Thanks for reading.


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