I know there will not be time to do Mythical Picks this week; there are other year-end bits that I want to get out of the way by Friday – - such as awarding The Meathead Of The Year Award; so I will use today to comment on NFL happenings.
Let me begin with the postponement of Sunday’s Eagles/Vikings game due to the weather. Unlike PA Governor, Ed Rendell, I do not think that the postponement demonstrates that we have become a “nation of wussies”. I do think, however, that the NFL may have set itself up for ridicule in the future. The game on Sunday was postponed hours before the storm hit; fans in the western suburbs of Philadelphia did not get snow measured in feet; they got only a few inches. Those to the east of the city got a boatload of snow. So, some fans may wonder what the big deal was. And in a few years, the NFL will host a Super Bowl game in the New Meadowlands Stadium. What are the chances that the Super Bowl would be postponed – - for safety reasons concerning players and fans – - if the same kind of storm were predicted for the Secaucus NJ area? Moreover, what of any future Super Bowl games scheduled for Detroit or Minnesota – - assuming they have a new domed stadium there? I wonder if “safety concerns” will be nearly as important then…
As to Gov. Rendell, his commentary about becoming wussies is kind of interesting seeing that Hizzoner would most likely be driven to the game and could have a police escort leading him along the way so that he is sure to get to his VIP parking spot where it would be a short walk to the VIP entrance to his open air seats and/or the nice warm box from which he would view the game. The “little people” probably would have nothing close to that should they try to make it to and from the stadium
Let’s see now… Terrell Owens was injured and missed 90% of last week’s Bengals’ game; the Bengals won. This week, Owens was on IR; the Bengals won. Last year the Bengals won 11 games; with Terrell Owens in 2010, they won 2 games in 13 tries; without Terrell Owens in 2010, they are 2-0. Recognizing that these are the Bengals and that they seem to have cornered the market on head-scratching personnel decisions, maybe they can exercise the option on Terrell Owens next year, continue to play him with Chad Ochocinco PLUS add Randy Moss to the mix. That would probably qualify as The Devil’s Trifecta for wide receivers… No longer would the Bengals merely have Batman and Robin as wide receivers; they would then be able to field Moe, Larry and Curly.
Quick Quiz time… Who is the more annoying “Jared”?
a. Jared the former fatty who hawks Subway Sandwiches
b. The guy who founded Jared’s Jewelry Stores forcing us to hear “He went to Jared’s…”
The Dallas Cowboys showed common sense putting Tony Romo on IR. Their season is long over; much the better to make sure Romo is fully healthy before sending out on the field again. The Vikings have not put Brett Favre on IR despite their season being even more “over” than the Cowboys’. Favre obviously loves living a soap opera; it seems as if the Vikings’ team has contracted that affliction.
Speaking of the Vikings, their negotiations with the State of Minnesota for a new stadium contain an offer from the team to fund 33% of the cost of a new stadium. That is not pure largesse, there are sweeteners in the deal with regard to land for development and stuff like that but those are issues for the politicians and the palm greasers to deal with. What I find interesting is that the Vikings ownership has been so vocal in their advocacy of an outdoor stadium for Minneapolis/St. Paul. The reason is that it will cost the Vikings a lot less to build a stadium without a roof than it will to build a stadium with a roof. One estimate I read said the cost of the roof alone could be in the vicinity of $300M.
In the longer term, they all need to realize that this equation will apply:
No Roof in Minneapolis/St. Paul = No Super Bowl
If the Oakland Raiders win this weekend in Kansas City, they will have gone 6-0 in the AFC West. Yet, the Raiders will not participate in the NFL playoffs this year. I could not find another instance where this happened in a cursory search through recent stats; in any event, it is not an easy thing to do.
The Seattle Seahawks are 2-7 in their last 9 games; nonetheless, if they can beat the Rams this week in Seattle, they will be in the NFC playoffs as champions of the NFC West with a 7-9 record. When the Seahawks have lost this year, they have gone down in flames. Each loss has been by more than 2 TDs; the closest the Seahawks have come in a loss was 15 points [to the Saints in New Orleans]. The average margin of defeat for the Seahawks in their 9 losses was 21 points.
Last week, Matt Hasselbeck had to leave the game in the first quarter meaning the Seahawks will have to go with Charlie Whitehurst at QB this week – - and maybe in a playoff game. I think we can agree that Whitehurst’s on-field performance in regular season NFL games has been something short of “satisfactory”…
People have focused on the miserable state of the NFC West and now on the dismissal of Mike Singletary as coach of the Niners in that division making him the fourth coach to lose his job in season this year. All of that is right, but somehow it seems to have taken some of the focus off of the miserable performance put in by the San Diego Chargers this season.
For much of the year, the Chargers had the top ranked offense plus the top ranked defense in the NFL. As of today, the Chargers still have the top ranked defense – - but their offense has fallen all the way to second in the NFL. With those rankings, the Chargers were eliminated from the playoffs last weekend when they lost to the Bengals who came into the game with a 3-11 record. It ought to be interesting to see if Never Nervous Norv Turner can survive that ignominy. Recall, he got the job after Marty Schottenheimer was fired for going 14-2 in the regular season and then losing a first round playoff game.
Now hear this:
What Norv Turner’s Chargers have done this year is a more spectacular implosion than what Tom Coughlin’s Giants have done this year.
The New England Patriots have played 15 games. In 11 of those games they have not committed a turnover. They have played the last seven consecutive games “turnover-free”. Tom Brady’s last interception came about 2 months ago. If the Pats can avoid committing 4 turnovers in this week’s final game, they will set an NFL record for fewest turnovers in a season. So far, the Pats have 9; the record – - set in 2008 by the Dolphins and the Giants – - is 13.
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
Headline at SportsPickle.com: “Spelling Bee finalist eliminated on the word ‘girlfriend.’ “
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…