Random Notes from the End of the NFL Regular Season
Just a bunch of observations from the end of the football regular season that either got lost in the shuffle of the holiday or didn’t warrant their own blog (possibly because they’re just too stupid):
*The day after the regular season ends when all the coaches and GM’s get fired- Monday Bloody Monday- has fast become my favorite days of the NFL calendar. Not because I like seeing guys lose their jobs…that’d be bad Juju… but because I look at it as validdation. What did every coach and GM who got tossed into the volcano this week have in common? At some point Bill Belichick was compared unfavorably to every last one of them. Everyone respects Lovie Smith and he’s good with the press. Mike Tannebaum makes “aggressive” draft day moves. Andy Reid signs talented big money free agents like Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha. (And Reid’s generosity was rewarded by his team flat out quitting on him. Seriously the Eagles’ pass coverage Sunday against the Giants was a disgrace. So bad the league should investigate it.) Well now Belichick is has a bye week in the playoffs and all those guys are Googling how to format a resume’.
And it’s been this way forever. A new coach comes along, puts together a good season and people say he’s the next great football mind and the game has passed Belichick by. They’re like the hot new celebrity chick that comes along and is huge until everyone gets sick of her and she’s just another flavor-of-the-month. (Shannon Elizabeth anyone? Cameron Diaz? Anyone seen Megan Fox in a while?) Whereas Belichick is the Elisabeth Shue of coaches; adorable as hell in 1987 and still a smokeshow while pushing 50. Ten years from this week there’ll be another half dozen coaches getting fired by owners still searching for the next Hooded One.
*The Giants have a lot to answer for. A team that good can miss the playoffs for one reason and one reason only: Lack of effort. How else can you explain that the defense that beat Green Bay, San Fran and New England in the postseason gave up more points this year than the Pats did? Still, I’m not ruling out that they might still sneak into the playoffs and win it all. That’s how bad they haunt my dreams.
*I like to think that I take a back seat to no man when it comes to having contempt for the Colts. But if you weren’t touched by that scene in the locker room Sunday after they won a game they didn’t have to win to honor Chuck Pagano, then you have an inky black void where your should be. I say this not as a Pats fan who benefited from them beating Houston, but as someone who lost a family member to cancer this year. And a football fan. There are moments like that in all walks of life, I recognize that. And in all sports. But for some reason it seems like football just seems to have more of them. There’s just something about the ultimate team sport that produces stories like that. It reminded me of what a dad said to me when his kid decided to quit football and concentrate on hockey. “Hockey’s great; don’t get me wrong. But football is… life.”
*Note: I get that that previous paragraph might be all Peter Kingy. I apologize if it does; it’s unintentional.
*Years of alcohol abuse having wiped out my ability to remember things, I’m no football historian. But I’d have to assume this is the best rookie crop of all time, right? So good that guys like Luke Kuechly (165 tackles, leading the league by 15) and Alfred Morris (1600+ yards, 13 TD’s, and came via the 6th round pick they got for Donovan McNabb) got semi lost in all the Luck-RGII-Russell Wilson stories . Baseball’s lucky if they produce one Mike Trout a generation. The NFL had like a ten of them this year, with another half dozen Kevin Durants thrown in. Scott Pioli picked the wrong year to suck bad.
*Rooting for an AFC team means you get to largely ignore the Cowboys, which is kind of a shame because we’re missing out. They’re at least 85% as ridiculous the Jets. And ever time I watch them I can’t help but wonder how much attention Rob Ryan would get if he could actually coach. His defense is garbage. But he gets more TV face time than Gordon Ramsey. Meanwhile 90% of Cowboys fans couldn’t describe Jason Garrett well enough to have a police sketch artist draw him.
*The fellating of Peyton Manning has been bad enough, but come playoff time it’s going to be unbearable. Sure he had a good year. And coming back from the neck surgery is a big deal. But this idea that he carried the Broncos is a fiction. They’re the only team in football to be Top 5 in offense and defense. So let’s not forget this was a defense-running game-special teams good enough to go to the 2nd round of the playoffs with Tim frigging Tebow. Manning has helped. But MVP? No way.
*Like I’ve always said, there’s no one I like watching as much as Ray Lewis from whistle to whistle. But I never bought the rest of his act and it won’t be missed. I actually hope the Ravens go out next year without him and play their nuts off, just to prove they’re grown men who never needed idiotic pregame dances or stupid pep talks with the TV camera sticking in his face or any of the histrionics from “their emotional leader” to motivate them.
*I am though hoping he gets a full time gig at ESPN. I just like the idea of him not getting invited to Disney World after winning the Super Bowl MVP in 2000 but now they put him on the payroll. Time heals all double homicides.
*If Roger Goodell had his way and we went to 16 playoff teams, the No. 8 seed in the AFC would be Miami. The same Miami that has the 12th pick in the draft. Goddell is the Terminator of bad ideas. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until the league is ruined.
*The irony that all three fired guys I mentioned at the beginning of this worked in Barstool cities. Have fun writing about the NBA and the hockey lockout until March Madness starts, fellas.