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Hi Folks,

Here's what happens when you sit an NFL Junkie down in front of
multiple big screens with Sunday Ticket and fresh batteries in the
remote.

Have a great Thursday.

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.

It's about time I started hearing that Viking horn like I did Sunday.

The Kyle Orton Bandwagon train lost a few passengers Sunday. After an
early 23 yard completion to Muhsin Muhammad the announcers gushed,
"And THAT'S why people are so excited about Kyle Orton!" He fumbled
two plays later but the Bears recovered. On the next play, he threw
one of his five interceptions on the day. I like the guy a lot and
still think he's solid but it's a process. A sometimes ugly process.

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.

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.

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".

Things change fast. The Bengals offense is the Greatest Show on Turf
and the Colts defense looks like the Steel Curtain. At least we can
count on Denver owning Kansas City at Mile High.

Herm Edwards was asked in his press conference about his #3 QB, Kliff
Kingsbury:  "You hoping he's going to play Sunday? I hope not."

Baseball Note – I'm with ESPN's Jason Stark in that I have a hard time
believing White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and Braves skipper Bobby Cox
are citizens of the same planet.

Speaking of ESPN, I love the Mikes (Greenberg and Golic) on the
morning radio show. And I fully understand the marketing thing with
the "my hometown" spots and the whole connecting with the audience
thing. True fan. I get it. We all know Greenie's a Jets fan and I know
losing the QBs was painful. But there's a point where the homerism
becomes annoying. That point Monday came approximately three minutes
into the show….

I love to see 6' 0" / 192 pound Champ Bailey cover 6' 5" / 250 pound
Tony Gonzalez. He does not back down one bit.

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.

College Football Rant of the Week (Or another reason why I'll never
pay too much attention until they wake up and implement a playoff).
The new fangled Harris Poll is now part of the BCS calculations
determining the fate of the best teams in the country. I'd like to
know who came up with the idea to let anyone with a pulse in on the
voting panel. Said former coach and voter John Mackovic, ""There are
several people on the panel who have long since departed their active
roles in football ... To tell you the truth, I did not know a couple
of them were still alive." I just want to know who voted 0-4 Idaho as
one of the top 25 teams. Seriously.

My buddy David Dodds said he could buy the concept of Geena Davis as a
woman president in the new TV Drama "Commander In Chief". It's the
idea of believing the person who dated Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly"
that's troubling. The press would have killed her over that...

Forgive me if I don't trip over myself with giddiness because the
Bengals shut down Kyle Orton.

I like Joe Gibbs and I'm one of the seven people on the planet who
doesn't hate Danny Snyder, but let's be honest: Washington is the
worst 2-0 team in a long time.

New Orleans is off to a strong defense of their Schizo Team Of The
Year title but Carolina is gaining fast.

One word for LaDainian Tomlinson:  Wheresitbeen?

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

Mike Vick threw my "Hamstring injuries always take a couple of weeks
to return from" theory out the window Sunday.

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.

If the Peyton Manning owner in your league is panicking, steal him
now. Their defense is changing the offensive plan some but unless you
think the 2004 offense hinged on Marcus Pollard, this is the same
offense.

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.

Tatum Bell owners may be hating Mike Shanahan but Cadillac Williams
owners are loving Jon Gruden. When asked if he was worried about
running Williams too much, he said, "I don't even think about that,
really. We're going to ride him as long as we can. That's why he's
here. That's why we selected him No. 5 overall. This guy is our
front-line back. He's a featured back, like any other featured back.
He's going to be used like one. If he gets tired, he comes out of the
game. If adversity strikes, it strikes. But this guy is wired. This
guy's infrastructure is one that allows him to play a lot." Williams
is on pace to notch 469 carries. Yikes.

Chad Johnson's Riverdance TD celebration? Bleh. He's still my favorite
wide receiver though.

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.

For not so great coaching, a note for Bill Cowher:  When you leave Tom
Brady and Adam Vinatieri 1:14 on the clock, they score in that
situation three out of four times. That game was over the second Hines
Ward caught the TD with that much time on the clock. It's not like we
haven't seen this before.

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

Side Judge Tom Fincken worked the Bears – Bengals game Sunday. Fincken
has officiated both a Super Bowl and an NCAA Final Four basketball
game. Just because I know you guys like to know this kind of stuff.

Something you may not know about refs – They get bye weeks too.

I told you last week about New England's Josh Miller pinning his punts
down inside the 5. He did it again Sunday using that 7 iron back spin
where the ball hit at the 1 and pulled back to the 5. It's a beautiful
thing to watch.

Think Donovan McNabb is looking for Terrell Owens? Check out this series:

1-10-OAK19 D.McNabb pass to T.Owens to OAK 9 for 10 yards
1-9-OAK9 D.McNabb pass to T.Owens to OAK 4 for 5 yards
2-4-OAK4 D.McNabb pass to T.Owens for 4 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Don't sleep on Dallas' Keyshawn Johnson. He was two yards shy of a
three TD game Sunday.

I said it last week, the Saints got screwed having to play in New
York. But Joe Horn and Jim Haslett need to let it go. It's not like
they're going to replay the game and the continued complaining is
starting to be a distraction.

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.

This series was looking all too familiar to Fred Taylor owners:

1-10-NYJ16 F.Taylor up the middle to NYJ 2 for 14 yards
1-2-NYJ2 F.Taylor up the middle to NYJ 3 for minus 1 yards
2-3-NYJ3 F.Taylor right guard to NYJ 3 for no gain

But then we got this little bonus with the next play after the Jaguars
lined up in the shotgun formation:

3-3-NYJ3 F.Taylor right guard for 3 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Nice.

Arizona Cardinals – you are on the clock.

Remember when Tiki Barber used to fumble a lot? I'm sure I just jinxed
him. Sorry.

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."

It won't show up in the official injury report but it's pretty clear
Titans running back Travis Henry is suffering from a serious brain
cramp.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick surprised veteran Steeler trainer John
Norwig who rushed on to the field when Patriots tackle Matt Light was
seriously injured. Belichick told Norwig to "get away from my
[expletive] player".

Vinny Testaverde said some of his new teammates said they remember him
from the Tecmo Bowl video game. That's pretty funny.

Hard Luck Awards For Week 3

CAR RB Davis 1 yard rush to the 1
CAR RB Davis rush for no gain from the 1 (Delhomme to Smith TD)
MIA QB Frerotte 41 yard pass to WR Chambers to the 1 challenged and
reversed to TD
CLE ST/WR Northcutt 82 yard punt return TD nullified by penalty
IND QB Manning 23 yard pass to TE Fletcher to the 2 (James TD)
SEA QB Hasselbeck 12 yard pass to TE Stevens to the 2 (Alexander TD)
SEA DEF/DT Bernard 4 yard fumble recovery return to the 1 (Alexander TD)
SEA RB Morris 6 yard rush to the 1
SEA RB Alexander rush for no gain from the 1 (Alexander TD)
TB RB Williams 3 yard rush to the 5 (Griese to Galloway TD)
DAL QB Bledsoe 11 yard pass to WR Johnson to the 1 (Jones TD)
DAL QB Bledsoe 13 yard pass to WR Johnson to the 1 (Jones TD)
CIN QB Palmer 5 yard TD pass to WR Houshmandzadeh nullified by penalty
(Graham FG)
NE QB Brady 10 yard pass to TE Watson to the 4 (Dillon TD)
NYG QB Manning 5 yard pass to TE Shiancoe to the 5 (Manning to Burress TD)
NYG QB Manning 30 yard pass to TE Shockey to the 4 (Manning to Tyree TD)
SD QB Brees 27 yard pass to WR McCardell to the 3 (Tomlinson TD)
SD DEF/DB Florence 30 yard interception TD nullified by penalty
SD QB Brees 9 yard TD pass to WR Parker nullified by penalty (Brees to Gates TD)
SD RB Turner 3 yard rush to the 5 (Tomlinson TD)
TEN RB Brown 10 rushing TD nullified by penalty
TEN RB Henry rush for no gain from the 4 (McNair to Jones TD)
DEN RB Anderson 1 yard rush to the 2
DEN RB Anderson 1 yard rush to the 1
DEN RB Anderson rush for no gain from the 1 (Plummer TD)
KC QB Green 21 yard TD pass to WR Kennison challenged and reversed
(Green to Parker TD)
PHI QB McNabb 9 yard pass to WR Owens to the 5 (McNabb to Westbrook TD)
NYJ QB Pennington pass for no gain to RB Martin to the 4
NYJ RB Martin 1 yard rush to the 3 (Sowell TD)
NYJ QB Pennington 7 yard TD pass to WR Chrebet challenged and reversed
(Nugent FG)
JAC QB Leftwich 35 yard pass to WR Smith to the 1 challenged and reversed to TD

Sometimes it's best to just not know….

Thanks for playing along. Have a great week and here's to football.

Joe

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