Welcome back, Lord Football!
At our last meeting, confetti was showering the New York Giants in Arizona and New England coach Bill Belicheat had already hotfooted it to the locker room with a bitter-beer-face and time still left on the clock.
Sure it was only one meaningless, salt-in-the-wound second, but still. How sweet it was!
Nice try, Pats. There's always "Next Year." Personally, I think you should still print up those "17-1, Almost Champs, Sort-Of-Perfect Season" T-Shirts. You can put the ‘perfect' in "air quotes." Everybody will get it. They'll remember how you tempted the Gods by going for it in Week 17, only to receive their full wrath when it really mattered. Go ahead. Print ‘em! They'd look shahp on yah's!
Now that professional tackle football -- a game played for money by men who are just one more set of 400 pound squats in the gym from being psychopathic human mastodons -- has come to claim it's annual Autumnal Throne, I think a quick review of off-season events is in order.
Pac Man Jones was traded to the Cowboys and re-instated by Commissioner Roger Goodell. Amazingly, he didn't have a single run in at a strip club. He has since lobbied to have the media stop calling him "Pac Man." No chance, buster! That sucker is as attached to you as the Pac Man logos you had stitched into the leather head rests in your SUV.
Despite his promise of being "Law and Order Goodell," NFL player crime and malfeasance was at or above all-time levels. This is not my opinion. The San Diego Union-Tribune actually went through all the police reports. Happy days!
Lots of guys got suspended for lots of things, including Chris Henry for a crime that wasn't even prosecuted. The suspension stood. Kevin Faulk got busted for one game for having two cigars laced with weed at a Lil' Wayne concert. And yet amazingly, Jags wide receiver Matt Jones was caught by cops with a lapful of cocaine in his car. He's available for Week 1.
Hell, even Marvin Harrison was under suspicion of being involved in a car wash shootout. YES! That guy! You know, Mr. Quiet! Mr. Score a Touchdown and Hand the Ball to the Official Without Even Signing It First or Shoving It In A DB's Facemask guy! Yeah, HIM! It went nowhere. Move along, people.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning didn't play a single snap, of a single pre-season game. Only Belichick tried to make it seem like a big deal. I wouldn't sleep on either guy for your fantasy league.
Collectively, the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, and Miami Dolphins tried out 87 different quarterbacks. They have each finally settled on a starter. This will be subject to change. Please stay tuned for updates.
Terrell Owens and Randy Moss didn't act up, act out, or otherwise make a peep. Hmmmm. Strange. What are these guys up to? I'm suspicious.
Chad Ocho Cinco legally ditched his pedestrian last name, "Johnson" for something with more salsa-like flavor! "Now, where's my jersey? Your serve, Mr. Commissioner!"
Ocho was unhappy with the Bengals as early as March and wanted out. The Bengals said, "Oh, you hate this place now? Just wait!" They then proceeded to cut their starting tailback, starting left tackle and starting cornerback. Oh yeah, and they got their starting quarterback's face smashed in a meaningless pre-season game. Welcome to Bengals Land! Still under the same old crappy management!
Greta Van Susteren delivered a crushing, Lorenzo Neal-caliber PR block for her buddy, Brett Favre. Despite a red flag challenge from Ted Thompson, the play stood. Goodbye, Green Bay!
Favre spent a few unsuccessful days trying to convince everybody that he was "thrilled" to be a Jet, even though everybody knows it was his fourth choice. You think he'll retire as a Jet? Ha! The sequel is coming this winter. Be ready.
Nothing notable at all happened in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia or Seattle. I'd keep my eye on those guys, just in case.
Ricky Williams won back his starting job in Miami, and earned a contract extension from a team run by noted hard-ass Bill Parcells. This comeback has no proper analogy. It's Rick Ankiel, combined with Dara Torres, rolled into a nice Rocky Bleier tortilla of a meal. Good for him.
The Buffalo Bills were allowed to sell one of their precious 8 home games north of the border to Toronto. Nobody complained. Damn you NAFTA! Damn you to hell!
"Inside the NFL" was sacked on HBO. Bryant Gumbel was sacked on the NFL Network. Sean Salisbury was sacked on ESPN. All that, and Joe Theismann is still out of work on TV. I'm pretty certain it's killing him.
Fox hired Michael Strahan to be the mouthy, loosely informed and quasi-articulate counterpart to Shannon Sharpe on CBS. Yea, nonsense!
Mike Shanahan spent all summer hoping nobody would notice that he a.) remains head coach of the Broncos and b.) hasn't done squat since Terrell Davis retired. Shhhh. Genius at work.
The Oakland Raiders spent enough money on totally questionable free agents that Hollywood produces are looking at scripts for "Ishtar 2" and saying: "It might be worth a shot."
Steve Smith punched another teammate and was suspended voluntarily by the team for two games. Are they idiots? The Panthers should carry one guy on their 53-man roster that shall be the "Steve Smith Punching Bag" whenever this totally awesome wide receiver gets a little frustrated. Job pays the veteran minimum. Applications are in John Fox's office.
Nobody in Arizona or Detroit got real mouthy about how "this is going to be our year." Look. It will never be your year. Ever. Both of you. Thanks for picking up on this theme.
Shaun Alexander is still waiting for his phone to ring. In 2005 he ran for an ungodly 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns. That was like, um, yesterday! Cruel league, man. Cruel.
But, we sure did miss it. Welcome back, Lord Football.
Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.
A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.