I hate to be the one to bring bad news, but the football season is half over.
That's right. Our precious Lord Football has broken into the open field, and he's crossed the 50. Before we know it, the most amazing sport on the planet will retire into the bitter winter for another agonizing seven month hibernation.
As always this time of year, I scold myself for not loving the NFL with my whole heart. For not pouring over box scores with more care. For sometimes casually turning away from a set of Sunday night highlights.
I could have watched more. I should have watched more. So could have you. Shame on all of us.
So, before we re-commit to being even better fans for the second half of the season, let's review some notables from the first half.
To say that it has been an "eventful" first half would be an understatement. Hmm. Let's see. We've had hurricanes, boat trips and a game in Mexico City. We've seen one player overcome a stroke to return to his team. Another player succumb to his ego to leave his.
Story of the Year:
Terrell Owens: Remember "Leon" from the Bud commercials? Owens makes "Leon" look like Art Monk by comparison.
The Fred Smoot Love Cruise. Let's see. Pro athletes getting illicit sex from strippers. Really? Nah!
NFL Cheerleaders getting' busy in the bathroom stall. How 'bout Pay-Per-View.
Offensive Player of the Year:
LaDanian Tomlinson: Pretend you've never heard of or seen him before. Then tell me how good he is. I think we're getting spoiled with his absurd production every week.
Steve Smith: This guy had a BROKEN LEG last year! Hello! The most explosive player in football, and the Panthers heartbeat on offense.
Carson Palmer: Here are the numbers: 69%, the only QB over 100 in passer rating, and TD to INT of 18-5. Oh yeah, his team is 7-2.
Defensive Player of the Year
Dwight Freeney: Simply unblockable with one guy on the edge.
Brian Urlacher: Tackling machine for the very solid Bears D.
DeAngelo Hall: Has given the Falcons an elite corner to depend on.
Coach of the Year
Tony Dungy. Um, yeah. People think going 8-0 is easy. It ain't. Especially when everybody is expecting it.
Bill Cowher. Steelers fans won't know it, until somebody else not nearly as good is running their team.
Marvin Lewis. I think it's safe to say, he has indeed "changed the culture" in Bungle-land.
Rookie of the Year
DeMarcus Ware. Dallas rush-end from Troy has been a flat-out havoc dispenser.
Shawne Merriman. Chargers say: "Thank you, Eli Manning trade!"
Ronnie Brown. Didn't open with the splash like Cadillac, but has been more consistent.
Coaches Most Deserving of Getting Fired
Mike Tice. No, you can't babysit these guys 24/7/365. But then again, you would never hear of a Bill Parcells led team taking a whore-cruise, or him scalping Super Bowl tickets.
Dom Capers. Just like in Carolina, his "expiration date" comes after three years, and the end is always very ugly.
Brian Billick. OK, "genius" time's up. Now that your defense can't cover for systemic offensive ineptitude, you simply have an awful team.
End Zone Dances I Personally Found Hilarious
Steve Smith doing the "row boat" vs. Minnesota.
Steve Smith posing like a model in the end zone.
Steve Smith rocking the baby to sleep.
Most Idiotic Decisions of the Year
The Redskins five-game "benching" of LeVar Arrington.
Ken Hamlin not just walking away.
Mike Martz coaching "one more" game with his heart condition.
Outrages of the Year
Allowing the Giants to have that ninth home game.
Blacking out the Dolphins hurricane game on Friday night.
Playing a game in Mexico City. Between two awful teams. On national TV.
"Um, Yeah Dude, You Might Want to Get That Checked Out"
Donovan McNabb. Everything.
David Akers kicking a GW FG with a blown hammy.
Garcia coming back early from a broken leg, only to get crushed.
Really Bad Ideas, That Everybody Knew Were Bad Ideas, But Nobody Stood Up To Say Anything
Running Cadillac Williams into the ground in the first three weeks.
Gus Frerotte, starting quarterback.
Assuming that T.O. would just "settle down" once the season began.
Most Vomit-Inducing Moments
Suzy Kolber's sappy extended "intro" on ESPN about Tedy Bruschi
Any game broadcast by Bill Maas, pick one.
Geena Davis bringing her man-act into the booth with Madden.
Three Quarterbacks You Would Have Never Bet Your Life Would Actually Start a Game This Season
Top 3 Fantastic Finishes
Chiefs beat Raiders on "walk-off" running TD.
Eagles blocking FG to rally against Chargers.
Redskins scoring 14 points in final 3:56 to beat Dallas.
Medivac Injury Decimation Award
New School Fantasy Studs
Old School Fantasy Duds
Most Unappreciated Players
Warrick Dunn. Ridiculously tough runner for his size. Massive heart.
Torry Holt. Classy, elegant, and a production machine.
Jake Delhomme. Throws too many picks, but otherwise a consummate leader.
Guys Who Should Get Used to Holding A Clipboard
Best Dallas Cowboy Confrontations
Flozell Adams jacking up Jose Cortez after missed FG.
Bill Parcells karate chopping his WR coach.
Keyshawn and Bledsoe jawing at each other.
Probable Coaching Vacancies This Offseason
Well, I Guess They Were Right, After All
Big Ben does make a huge difference in Pittsburgh, despite modest numbers.
The Broncos can indeed put any running back in their system and produce.
Joe Gibbs by saying Mark Brunell wasn't finished.
There's Still Way Too Much of This In the NFL
The prevent defense
Utterly ticky-tack defensive holding calls.
Games of the Year
Pittsburgh beats San Diego on MNF
Philly rallies to beat San Diego. 94 total passes. Fun.
Giants beat Denver on Eli Manning's first comeback win.
Things That Happened Which You Could Never Make Up Yourself
Fan stealing the ball from Brett Favre's hands
Mike Martz getting hung up on by the Rams from his hospital bed.
Eagles and Falcons getting into a pre-game brawl on MNF
Czaban: "Vikes going to the Super Bowl."
Many TV analysts: "Cardinals win division."
Peter King: "Jason Campbell starts by Halloween."
Quarterback Quick Hooks
Patrick Ramsey. Lasted less than a half as "starter."
Tim Rattay. Changed too many plays for Nolan's tastes.
Josh McCown. What does Denny Green have against him?
Jim Haslett on defensive holding call that cost him the game.
Mike Vick: "Don't criticize me when I'm losing."
Zygi Wilf: "Red McCombs sold me a lemon."
Peyton Manning getting autographs at grocery story.
Gatorade's "what if" commercial with re-made highlight of "The Catch."
Pizza Hut delivering to guys watching QVC buying figurines.
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.