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Random Shots

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

A Twisted Look at The NFL Every Week And All That Goes With It

In case you needed another reason to stay grounded in reality, I offer
up Cadillac Williams and week 4.

Did you hear that the guys in Canton asked for his shoes? The Pro
Football Hall of Fame requested his cleats and gloves after he broke
the 50 year old record for most yards in his first three career games.
That's kind of cool I guess. It may not be interesting to anyone else
but me, but Williams uses a new pair of cleats for each game.

How bad is Arizona's J.J. Arrington? Of his seven carries Sunday, two
went for positive yards. Yes, the line has been terrible but I just
flat out missed on this kid.

I goof around a lot in this column but here's to one of my favorite
coaches, the Rams' Mike Martz. Doctors believe Martz may be suffering
from endocarditis which is a bacterial infection of the heart's inner
lining. It's a serious illness that requires a long treatment of
antibiotics and can be debilitating. Best wishes coach.

As much as I love Football, even I got a little caught up in the
baseball hype last week. Our Week 4 Game Predictor listed the Arizona
Cardinals facing the San Francisco Giants....

I switched over to the SAP programming and listened to the Sunday
night game in Spanish for a little bit. Those guys get excited.

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.

I'll be cheering for Vinny Testaverde. Partly because I only have a
couple years left to see guys older than me on the field but I just
like the guy. The first thing I noticed from his first practice was
that he still won't wear the special red quarterback practice jersey.
"Herm wanted me to wear one but I told him I hadn't worn one in 18
years and I didn't want to start now."

Speaking of old timers, I'm not saying Brett Favre looks old but if
Grecian Formula is looking for a spokesperson, I have the perfect guy.
Not to Fav  ruh:  You can make the case that three day stubble when
you're 25 is laid back cool. But three day gray stubble puts you
perilously close to homeless guy look.

Ok, I was joking about the earlier thing being the Email of the Week.
Here's the real Email of the Week. This one wasn't whiny and all the
big words were spelled correctly. It's from Footballguy Jim Derry of
Metairie, Louisiana (a New Orleans suburb) Jim and his league mates
wrote to tell me that they were having a delayed draft this week for
their fantasy leauge. He said, "I just thought you might be interested
that we're all picking up the pieces of what's left here in New
Orleans. We are determined to return to some sense of normalcy, and
fantasy football is absolutely one remedy for that. Thanks for
thinking about us, and just let your readers know, we'll all be OK
(whether the Saints play in San Antonio or Baton Rouge or wherever

May God bless you, Jim. That made my whole week.

Glitch in the matrix:  Did you know the league has three guys named
Eric Johnson and three guys named Derrick Johnson? I know this because
I received 800 emails after I listed the 49er tight end Eric Johnson
as questionable with a hamstring when I meant Eric Johnson, the
linebacker for Arizona. You know this is why you read this stuff. And
it probably ought to embarrass you a little.

Trent Green is to Kurt Warner as to Drew Bledsoe is to Tom Brady as to
Chad Pennington is to Brooks Bol... Wait. Nevermind.

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.

Atlanta's Ike Reese was injured on the opening kickoff Sunday. The
offensive and defensive players gathered and waited while Reese was
attended to. Trainers for the Vikings rushed out to the huddled
players with towels, water and Gatorade. These guys were thirsty
already from jogging in from the sidelines? I think the trainers just
wanted to get on TV. I don't blame them.

Donovan McNabb finished the day with 369 total yards in the air, his
third straight game with more than 300 passing yards. It's just an
unconfirmed rumor at this point but I heard that Daunte Culpepper was
asking if he could get one of those sports hernia things....

Good stat for your buddies. There are 32 teams in the league. David
Carr is currently ranked # 33 in passing yards. Ok, it's not fair as
he's got a bye week in there but it's still a fun number to throw at
the Carr owner in your league.

For you guys scoring at home, 64% of Steve McNair's completions Sunday
went to tight ends. I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere but I'm
moving on.

One of the worst things about head to head fantasy football is losing
a game to the high scorer in your league 87-81 while another team gets
a win scoring 25 to 21. I bet that's what the Chiefs felt like posting
31 points on Philadelphia but still losing while Tampa Bay eked out a
17-13 over Detroit.

Yes, they're a Hail Mary and a bonked field goal from 1-2 but I was
still wrong about Washington. I'm not picking them for the Super Bowl
but they're not as bad as I thought. That looked like a vintage 1995
Jaguar Mark Brunell out there Sunday.

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."

I understand that Donovan McNabb's mom is a great spokesperson for
Campbell's Soup. That's cool. But of all the different soups they
make, whose idea was it for her to promote not just clam chowder, but
NEW ENGLAND clam chowder in the new radio ads?

Stuff I notice that you probably do too (or else you'd given up on
this column years ago and I'm certain you wouldn't have read this
far):  One of the Cardinals offensive linemen was injured after an
Arizona field goal. Kicker Neil Rackers went over and tried to help
the limping lineman off the field. Neil Rackers isn't a typical shrimp
kicker at 207 pounds, but that's still pretty cool.

Anyone have tickets for the Rod Smith  Clinton Portis Cage Match? I'd
go as long as they keep Woody Paige and Skip Bayless on the under

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.

Drew Brees looked more like Tom Brady in the fourth quarter Sunday
than Tom Brady did.

Rams coach Mike Martz raved this summer about Steven Jackson saying he
might be the back that could turn the pass happy coach into a three
yards and a cloud of dust guy. In case you missed it, the Rams set a
franchise record Sunday for most pass attempts in a single game....

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

Question for you hockey fans  will you come back? One of my guys said
he might take a sign to the game that said, "Did You Mi$$ U$?" That'll
really show 'em. Waving it from his $95 seat....

I hope the Tigers fans in Detroit are more excited than new manager
Jim Leyland. He rambled through his press conference looking like they
pulled him away from a nap at the rest home. He says he's done smoking
in the dugout but I'll believe that when I see it.

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

Speaking of the Jets, Ravens coach Brian Billick apparently saw as
much "disaster" coverage of the New York quarterback situation as I
did last week:  "Tomorrow, we're going to take up a donation for the
New York Jets' relief fund. Because based on what I'm reading and
hearing, I can't imagine these guys showing up. Good Lord, I can't
turn on the TV without seeing [hurricanes] Katrina, Rita, and oh my
God, the Jets. I'm digging in my pockets for money."

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.

There wasn't a player on the bench within 15 feet of Eagle rookie
kicker Todd France after they botched that first field goal attempt.
He rebounded nicely though making three clutch kicks and lots of new

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."

Anyone else notice the alien crop circles cut into the Coliseum grass
in Nashville? Where's my tin foil hat?

I know Detroit is a great city with a proud football tradition. So I
mean no disrespect. But is there anything at all about Detroit that
makes you think of the color Honolulu Blue? Just wondering how that
jersey color came to be. I'm sure there are Lions experts out there
that can fill me in.

You never know what you'll get with Patriots running back Corey
Dillon. Dillon announced this week he was done talking to the press:
"Oh, you won't hear from me the rest of the year," Dillon said. "I'm
too old to talk."

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?

You probably noticed all the players wearing the little green decal on
their helmet Sunday. It said "Futbol Americano" in reference to the
San Francisco  Arizona game in Mexico City. Well, almost every player
wore one. Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer defied the league and
didn't play along. You may remember Plummer ran afoul of the league
last year when he wanted to wear the "40" decal in honor of Pat
Tillman. Plummer backed off when faced with the threats of large
fines. Hmmm.

How much passing was there in the Giants  Rams game? There were three
seconds left in the third quarter of the Seattle  Washington game
when the Giants kicked off to start the second half.

Do the people creating ads for Survivor really think we're that
stupid? Every single week they shout that viewers fortunate enough to
tune in this week will "witness something that has never happened
before." Something that will never happen ever is you catching me
watching Survivor.

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.

Lions rookie Mike Williams could have won the game Sunday if he'd been
able to keep his feet in bounds on his catch. It would have been a
nice catch but certainly not incredible. It's one that most big league
non rookie WRs make. He'll learn.

One word for Peyton Manning  "wheresitbeen"?

Along that line, have two brothers ever combined for eight TDs in one
day before?

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

Miami's atop the AFC East standings after week 4. Yeah, we saw that coming.

The Chiefs defense is back to Swiss cheese. All is right again in the world.

Did you see Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman chase down Randy Moss
from behind? Wow.

Let's not kid ourselves. The Lions got absolutely shafted on the
Marcus Pollard call. Period. I understand mistakes but for Mike
Pereira to adamantly defend the reversal on NFL Networks Total Access
is laughable. Just admit you blew the call and stop insulting the
intelligence of your customers.

Think the Chiefs love Priest Holmes? Here's the opening series:

1-10-KC37 Holmes right end to KC 42 for 5 yards
2-5-KC42 Green pass to Kennison to PHI 43 for 15 yards
1-10-PHI43 Green pass to Kennison to PHI 36 for 7 yards
2-3-PHI36 Holmes right end to PHI 33 for 3 yards
1-10-PHI33 Green pass to Holmes to PHI 23 for 10 yards
1-10-PHI23 Holmes left end to PHI 19 for 4 yards
2-6-PHI19 Holmes right end to PHI 3 for 16 yards
1-3-PHI3 Holmes left end to PHI 3 for no gain
2-3-PHI3 Holmes right guard for 3 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

I don't think there's a human on the planet qualified to give Bill
Belichick coaching advice but I don't understand quitting with :27 on
the clock. Of course, they were going to lose. But you play the game
till the whistle blows and while maybe you pull your starters, I don't
think you throw in the towel by taking a knee when you could go down
fighting. I'm sure my concern is keeping the coach awake at night....

I'm renaming the Hard Luck Awards this week the T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Awards. For the third week, Houshmandzadeh scored a touchdown only to
see it nullified by penalty.

BUF QB Losman 12 yard pass to WR Evans to the 2 (McGahee TD)
NO RB McAllister 2 yard rush to the 4 (Brooks TD)
NE RB Pass 6 yard rush to the 1 (Dillon TD)
SD QB Brees 38 yard pass to TE Gates to the 1 (Tomlinson TD)
SD RB Turner 46 yard TD rush nullified by penalty
DEN QB Plummer 10 yard pass to TE Alexander to the 2
DEN RB Anderson rush for no gain from the 2 (Plummer to Carswell TD)
CIN QB Palmer 4 yard TD pass to WR Houshmandzadeh nullified by penalty
(Graham FG)
CIN QB Palmer 26 yard TD pass to WR Henry challenged and reversed
(Palmer to Johnson TD)
HOU RB Davis 2 yard rush to the 4 (Carr to Norris TD)
WAS QB Brunell 8 yard pass to WR Moss to the 2
WAS RB Portis 1 yard rush to the 1
WAS RB Portis rush for no gain from the 1 (Brunell to Royal TD)
SEA QB Hasselbeck 26 yard pass to WR Engram to the 3 (Alexander TD)
DET QB Harrington 12 yard TD pass to TE Pollard reversed
BAL RB Taylor 3 yard rush to the 1 (Lewis TD)
DAL QB Bledsoe 21 yard TD pass to WR Johnson nullified by penalty (Cortez FG)
ATL QB Vick 24 yard rush to the 5 (Vick to Crumpler TD)
PHI QB McNabb 28 yard pass to WR Owens to the 3 (McNabb to Bartrum TD)
PHI RB Gordon rush for no gain to the 1 (McNabb to Smith TD)
GB QB Favre 11 yard pass to WR Driver to the 4 (Favre to Chatman TD)

Sometimes it's best to just not know.

That'll do it for this week. Thanks for playing along and I hope you
have a blast with whatever you're doing.

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