Posted 12/24 by Joe Bryant, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
I think it's fitting that the regular season wraps up this time of year. Because for me, the NFL season is sort of like Christmas: Tons of anticipation and then it seems to be over before I know it.
I think this has been my favorite season ever. But then I say that every year. I admit it, I'm an NFL junkie. And I'm guessing the fact you're reading this in late December puts you pretty far up the NFL Junkie scale too.
It's OK. They say Recognition is the first step...
Seriously, part of the fun in writing this column is that every week, I know I'll get to share some thoughts with folks like yourself who love football as much as I do. And that strikes me as a very good thing. I've had a blast throwing out my goofy thoughts this season. And I've chuckled at the emails from people telling me they've thought some of the same things as they were watching the games. (the fact these people are having the same thoughts as me should probably concern them....)
Before this turns into a Hallmark card / Winston Wolfe scene, let's get on with this. As I wrap up the regular season in this week 17, I've pulled up some of the more interesting things I remember seeing during the year.
Bottom line is this thing has been an absolute gas to create for you guys. It's my sincerest hope that you've enjoyed reading it 10% as much as I enjoyed writing it. We'll do it again next season. If you've got thoughts and ideas on how this thing can be better, or just want to yell at me about my preseason Braylon Edwards ranking, feel free to shoot me a line at Bryant@footballguys.com.
Here's to Football,
Tom Brady talked before the week 1 game about his mysterious foot injury that limited him in the preseason. "I don't know," Brady said. "Coach hates percentages, so I usually don't give them. I have been yelled at more times with comments I make so I am laying off that one. Write that, so he reads that, too."
Lots of folks after Week 1 wished that a mysterious foot injury was all they had to worry about with Tom Brady.
While I'm on the Patriots, let me say it right here. They'll obviously miss Brady who is one of the best players in the game. But they'll be OK. Randy Moss + Bill Belichick + solid rushing game + a ridiculously soft schedule has me thinking they'll win maybe 2 less games without Brady than they would if Brady had been there. Brady might be worth 6 wins on the Titans. But on this New England team with all the surrounding factors, I think they'll be fine.
Is there a quarterback in recent history that's had an unluckier "draw" than Matt Cassel? He sits behind Carson Palmer at USC. Palmer finally leaves and then Matt Leinart comes along. Cassel thinks he'll get his shot in the pros and winds up behind Tom Brady. No shame in being a 2nd teamer with those guys. Glad he's finally getting his shot. And yes, he'll be fine too.
(Week 17 note - I'm sure there's something about stopped clock being right twice a day somewhere...)
Matt Forte - welcome to the Bigs. The guy didn't seem fazed in the least. I think there's something to these guys like Forte who were the primary weapon on their college team. Forte was it for Tulane. He's used to everyone gearing up to stop him. Sort of the same thing that Jay Cutler dealt with at Vanderbilt.
Glitch in the matrix moment: For years, Bill Belichick has mocked the official injury report listing Tom Brady every week as probable with a right shoulder. For whatever reason, Belichick elected not to list Brady on the injury report for Week 1...
You probably saw Brett Favre throw up the pass on 4th down that was caught for a TD. Did you know that was Favre's first career 4th down TD pass from 10+ yards? I didn't. Guess what current player owns the record for that? Josh McCown has three. How is that possible?
Note to Brian Dawkins. When you're on the goal line, and you find yourself covering Terrell Owens in one on one coverage, the correct pre snap adjustment is to call TIME OUT.
Former Giants TE Jeremy Shockey recently described the horror of attending last season's Super Bowl game. "I flew myself out on a five- to six-hour flight in a middle seat. I couldn't walk. I couldn't do anything", said Shockey.
Not the middle seat. Please, for the love of Pete Rozelle, tell me Shockey didn't have to suffer through the middle seat. No wonder he wanted out of New York.
On the ESPN Sunday morning show, the hosts all pick the game winners. Chris Berman picked Cleveland over Pittsburgh and said, "Why not"? Ummm. Maybe because the object of this lesson is to pick the winners?
Do you know which offense currently holds the record for most consecutive games scoring at least 20 points? That would be your Arizona Cardinals with 10 games. Interesting.
I'm not a big fan of folks thinking they know more than the NFL General Managers. By and large, the GMs at this level are smart people making good decisions. But to this day I'm still stunned that Ted Ginn Jr could convince anyone he was worth a first round pick. (Week 17 note - back to earth on the prediction front...)
Note to Matt Leinart: Find a comfortable baseball cap.
Braylon Edwards: Catch the ball.
Let's not get too excited just yet but I am loving this Titan backfield of Chris Johnson and LenDale White. White is not the guy that carries your running game. But paired with a speedster like Johnson, they're tough. That combo looks eerily familiar...
Gotta feel for Charger fans. That was as tough an ending as I can remember. (Week 17 note - little did I know this would become a pattern for them)
Titans coach Jeff Fisher was pretty straightforward when asked if his receivers would have trouble getting used to new left handed quarterback Chris Simms: "The receivers will continue to work with him. I mean the ball's obviously spinning a different direction but, it's brown and they have to catch it."
Denver Running Back stats from Sunday:Selvin Young: 11 rushes for 65 yards. 0 TDs
Andre Hall: 6 rushes for 25 yards. 0 TDs
Michael Pittman: 5 rushes for 2 yards. 2 TDs.
This is the perfect Skeletor backfield. He openly mocks your fantasy frustration.
By the looks of the exit ramps in Gillette Stadium in the early 4th quarter Sunday loss to Miami, you would have thought they were giving away free Sam Adams in the parking lot.
Great example of the reach of our game: Listening to the Opening Drive radio program on the NFL Network on Sirius and the caller was Muhammad from Kentucky with a question about his Patriots. That's covering some ground there. Nice.
In the "Everything comes back to the Godfather" department, I couldn't help but think of one of my favorite scenes Sunday watching Miami at New England. It's the part right after Don Corleone has been shot and Sollozzo grabs Tom Hagen.
Sollozzo says, "Let's face it, Tom, and all due respect. The Don, rest in peace, was slippin'. Ten years ago could I have gotten to him? Well, now he's dead. He's dead, Tom, and nothing can bring him back."
Two years ago, could Miami have toyed with the Patriots at the goal line like that? Could a team that made Mike Vrabel famous catching touchdown passes be totally baffled by Ronnie Brown in the single wing? How hard is it to notice the slow white guy wearing #10 lining up at WR? That means we have a new quarterback, folks. And he's wearing #23. Which I bet means he can run. I see getting burned once. But this was ridiculous.
I am loving this Slaton kid in Houston. Very tough running back. If he was 30 pounds heavier...
Baltimore's Joe Flacco is the only the 3rd rookie since 1970 to quarterback his team to victory in his first two games.
Good news: One of the QBs is John Elway.
Bad news: The other one is Ryan Leaf. (Week 17 Note - Good news is that he's looking more like the former than the latter so far)
If you're Faith Hill and you know you're going to be filming the Sunday Night song intro that's going to play all season long, do you not schedule a hair appointment before the shoot to bleach your hair so the roots match the rest of it? Is it that difficult?
Mike Ditka said on Sunday's pregame show: "I don't think Dallas will go undefeated in the regular season." Way to go out on a limb there, Mike.
My new pet peeve phrase from fans who don't know what they're talking about. "This team has no identity."
Just because you don't do one thing great doesn't mean you don't have an identity. When you're winning, that's called having a "balanced attack". You find the same dolts saying it that call Brett Favre a "gunslinger" when he completes the risky pass but he's "reckless" when the same pass is picked off.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh pulled the cheese move calling timeout in overtime right as Jeff Reed attempted the game winning field goal for Pittsburgh. It was good. So they tried again and Reed drilled it again. That's one of the lamest coaching moves in sports.
Trent Green finished the game completely conscious. At this stage in his career, that has to be seen as a victory.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was funny with rookie linebacker Bruce Davis on the sideline. He said, "That Mike Tomlin Show is a helluva show. You need to watch that on a weekly basis."
You think Panthers WR Steve Smith has grown up some? You'll remember that Smith was suspended for punching team mate Ken Lucas. After Smith scored Sunday, he gave the ball to Lucas.
"I was going to congratulate him on the touchdown and he said, 'This is for you,"' Lucas said. "He took the high road and that showed a lot about him as a person.
"Since Day 1, since the moment I forgave him, he has done everything that a man could ever do for forgiveness," Lucas said of Smith, who did not speak to reporters. "My hat is off to him. Him and I, the adversity that we had at first, has created a friendship. We're friends."
Some good lessons there.
Eli Manning was funny on the ESPN skit where Kenny Mayne was having Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt try out for the NFL. Eli said of Bolt, "He runs like my brother runs toward endorsement opportunities."
Here's what it's like to be a Lions fans. Sunday, quarterback Dan Orlovsky completed a pass to Jerome Felton. Felton fumbled and the ball was recovered by Chicago. But the play was challenged and reversed giving the ball back to Detroit. With new life, Orlovsky threw an interception on the next play that was returned for a touchdown.
San Diego's Darren Sproles is the fastest guy wearing 43 since Richard Petty.
Not exactly going out on a limb here but Denver kicker Matt Prater will set the field goal record this season. He kicked one from 55 that landed halfway up the net. The air in Denver surely helps but this guy can kick. (Week 17 Note - I shanked this one)
Chad Johnson is reportedly dating Adam "Pacman" Jones' cousin. That makes perfect sense.
How bad do you have to play to be benched for Dan Orlovsky?
I've been loving Ravens fullback turned running back Le'Ron McClain. Partly because I love people that put random apostrophes in their name for no reason. But also because he'd been really productive while hype sensation Ray Rice watched from the bench. Looks like the party may be over though.
Oh that wacky Pacman. I'm shocked. At least nobody got shot this time.
Maybe Marvin Harrison isn't ready for the nursing home after all...
The Vikings are tied for first place in the division after 6 weeks and the fans still want their head coach fired. Interesting.
Two ends of the throwback uniform spectrum this past weekend. The Jets with their awful navy and gold Titans uniforms from the 60's that are about as far from the current Jets today as you can get. And the Browns rocking their 1957-1959 look that is pretty much their look today with the exception of thinner stripes on the pants, and a single white stripe on the helmet with their number on the side of their helmet written with what looks like a brown sharpie. Nice.
I don't get this. Fred Taylor recently switched from the standard Riddell helmet he's worn for his eleven year career to the new Revolution model by Riddell. According to the Riddell web site, the new model makes players 31 percent less likely to suffer a concussion than those wearing traditional helmets. If that's true and you're an NFL player where your multimillion dollar career depends on staying healthy, isn't the new helmet a no brainer? Wouldn't every owner make it mandatory?
The Raiders faked a punt and snapped the ball to one of the up backs Sunday for a first down. Dan Fouts broadcasting the game said, "How about that snap by Jon Condo? He had to snap the ball at a very sharp angle."
Randy Cross jumped in saying, "A little bit of snapper love there."
I'm not going near that one.
I know it's probably because I'm not sophisticated enough and all that but I think playing in London is stupid. It's fine for an exhibition I guess. But this game matters. You don't screw around with exhibition type stuff when the game matters.
Green Bay's Ryan Grant now has one more touchdown than I do. I don't feel too bad as he also has three more fumbles than I do
Two of the dirtiest players in the league, Rodney Harrison and Roy Williams are out for the year. Karma in full effect.
Note to Harrison. When you hurt yourself getting faked out of your jock on a run by Jay friggin Cutler, it might be time to hang 'em up.
Wow. Who would've thought Jeremy Shockey would suck AND be injured in New Orleans? I know Giant fans never saw that one coming...
How bad was it in Cincinnati? Cedric Benson rushed for the Bengal's first first down of the game with 4:57 left in the 2nd quarter. And the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Note to J.T. O'Sullivan: I think that clock is about to strike midnight.
Latest example of the dumbest move in sports: Trying to "ice" the kicker by calling timeout right as he kicks. Who thinks this is a good idea?
Oakland's Tom Cable nearly cost his team the game with this bonehead move Sunday. As the Jets Jay Feely attempted a 52 yarder to send the game into overtime, Cable called timeout as Feely kicked the ball negating the play. Of course, Feely missed it. After having had a chance to gauge the wind and field position and how he hit the ball, he went out for the second try and of course drilled it. "I heard the whistle before I started, which is an advantage to the kicker," Feely said. "If you're going to do that, do that before he kicks. I can kick it down the middle, see what the wind does and adjust. It helps the kicker tremendously."
Never in my life have a seen an opposing coach make a decision that the other team is just begging you to make. Surely this will stop at some point.
The new Hyundai Genesis ad says it goes from 0-60 faster than a Porsche Boxter. I'm sure trophy wives across the country are crushed.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was trying his best to lighten the PacMan Jones fiasco where the player was recently suspended after an altercation involving him scuffling with his own bodyguard.
Jerry Jones just smiled and said, "It never occurred to us that he would have an incident with the guy that was sitting there to keep that from happening."
Marshall Faulk was not impressed with the playing field in London. Said Faulk, "That looks like a soccer field made for 130 pound guys. There are going to be big mens on that field." To make sure you got it, he came back and said, "Yeah, big menZZZ". I like Faulk.
I understand the loss of Shawne Merriman but how is a secondary as talented as the Chargers being toasted as often as they are? I wrote that Sunday night. Evidently, I wasn't the only one thinking that as defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell was shown the door Tuesday.
On the upside for San Diego, their division sucks.
Glitch in the Matrix: Tampa's Ronde Barber was called for a horse collar tackle on Dallas' Marion Barber while Roy Williams watched.
Who is Fred Jackson and why does he hate Marshawn Lynch Owners?
Bad news: Seattle WR Keary Colbert managed just one reception.
Worse news: He gained zero yards on the play.
I think Mike Ditka is right. The Cowboys are the only team with three head coaches in Jerry Jones, Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett.
Cowboys receiver Roy Williams went back to Detroit for a Halloween party. Williams showed up in support of former teammate Mike Furrey, who puts on the party to raise money for his charities.
Williams went as former Lions running back Tatum Bell. Williams was wearing a bellhop uniform with a big name tag that said "T. Bell.'' But the fun part was that he was also wearing boxer shorts on the outside of his pants and it said "Rudi'' on the front and "Johnson 32'' on the back. That's pretty funny.
How bad was it for Steven Jackson and the Rams Sunday? Marc Bulger was the leading rusher. With 32 yards.
It was worse for Oakland though. At half time they trailed 24-0 and had been out gained 309 yards to minus 2. At the end of the game, the Falcons had controlled the ball for 45:15 out of the 60 minutes of game time
Miami WR Greg Camarillo announced his presence at this level Sunday. 16 targets netting 11 receptions for 111 yards. Nice.
The Bengals wore their orange jerseys and white pants Sunday. They are 5-1 since 2004 in games in which they wore the orange jerseys and white pants.
The rest of the breakdown: Orange jerseys and black pants, 3-0; black and black, 6-5; white and black, 7-9; black and white, 9-14; white and white, 5-9. Because I know you guys need to know this stuff...
And since this was their first win of the year, I'd vote for keeping the Orange - White combo.
I know I've been a little negative lately on the commercials ripping on the Apple dweeb (which judging by the avalanche of like minded email I've received on that one - you guys are with me) and the Sony HD Cameras / Televisions. How about a positive thought? My favorite spot on right now is the Nike commercial with LaDainian Tomlinson and Troy Polamalu. You've seen it too with the progression of LT from baby to adult on the left and the same for Polamalu on the right and then they crash into each other in the middle as NFL players. Simple but great.
I really like Cris Carter. Sunday, he hit the nail on the head talking about player attitudes and the wisdom of rewarding a guy like Plaxico Burress with a contract extension. Carter said, "Money makes you a bigger... whatever you are." Some wisdom in that.
Cris Collinsworth had this gem Sunday night, "And Chris Jenkins. As we like to call them in the locker room, 'A bad dude'."
Really, Cris? Is that what you locker room guys really call them?
On a less awkward note, Al Michaels said the players in New England call running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis "Law Firm". That's pretty funny.
Jacksonville's Jerry Porter was the intended target for the crucial two point conversion at the end of the game. The game is on the line and the best you can come up with is a pass to Jerry Porter?
Sometimes it's those not so glamorous but necessary general manager type decisions that make a difference. One of the bigger decisions these guys make is filling the backup QB spots. Dallas has shown one way to do it. Pittsburgh has shown another. With Ben Roethlisberger injured Monday night, Byron Leftwich took over and never looked back leading the team on two touchdown drives.
"We all know Ben's the guy," Leftwich said. "Ben's the quarterback of this football team, and I know I was going to be there in case something happened. Something happened today."
For the first time in franchise history, Washington chose to wear the burgundy jerseys and pants together. The Redskins have been doing this a long time. And they've been pretty darn successful. Is it really time to start trying new uniform combos here?
Eagles offensive lineman Todd Herremans caught a touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb Sunday. "Linemen don't catch many touchdowns," said backup tight end Brent Celek, another unlikely Eagles star in a 26-7 win over Seattle on Sunday. "I was afraid that he'd throw the ball at me rather than spiking it."
Cool moment before the Browns game as Shannon Dawson sang the National Anthem. She is the wife of Browns kicker Phil Dawson. He said he was more nervous than he'd ever been with a kick. The smile across his face as she hit the high notes at the end was priceless.
After the Jaguars lost to Cincinnati, coach Jack Del Rio instituted the Dean Wormer "no fun of any kind allowed" policy. When you ban dominoes from the locker room, that's getting into Captain Queeg territory. I think they should bring back the axe and the log.
Samkon Gado was working in the hospital ER last week. Sunday he was carrying the ball for the St. Louis Rams. Things move fast.
Warren Sapp wasn't pulling any punches with Vikings DE Jared Allen. "C'mon Jared Allen, you're the least most valuable player in this league."
Daunte Culpepper was less than stellar. Ok, he wasn't even really good. But considering Culpepper played decently Sunday after having been a Detroit Lion for all of five days, I thought it might have been one of the more remarkable performances of the day.
You knew things were weird when Culpepper ran out of the tunnel wearing an armband playbook on each wrist. He'll be OK.
If I'm a Lion fan, I've just got one piece of advice for Culpepper: Throw it to the tall guy. Calvin Johnson can make a lot of QBs look pretty good.
Speaking of the undefeated Titans, this is the kind of stuff that happens on a well coached team. With the Titans trying to run out the clock on their final drive, Kerry Collins was facing 3rd and 5 from the Tennessee 40. Collins found TE Bo Scaife open across the middle running toward the right sideline. Scaife got the yards he needed then slid to get down before going out of bounds. I love the little things like this.
You have to like Jerious Norwood starting to high step at the 30. Several Falcons did this. You know they know Deion will be doing the highlights later on the NFL Network...
Ricky Williams showing some s-p-e-e-d.
St. Louis was terrible Sunday. "The Rams got taken to the woodshed today," Rams guard Richie Incognito said. "It was terrible to be out there on the field."
Richie, it was pretty terrible to watch it, too.
The Eagles had the ball at their own 45 with 1:55 left, but Brian Westbrook was stopped by New York's Chase Blackburn on fourth-and-1.
"It was exhilarating," Blackburn said of the clinching tackle.
You don't hear a lot of "It was exhilarating" from NFL linebackers today. God Bless those Akron Zips.
Ryan Torain, thanks for the memories.
A classic from the NFL Network. Deion Sanders, Spero Dedes, Warren Sapp and Marshall Faulk were doing the highlight show. Sanders said, "I'm happy to be on this panel where everyone has a Super Bowl ring. He looked over at Dedes, put his hand on his arm and said, "I have two, you can borrow one." I love Deion.
Tatum Bell is back in the league and getting stuffed on a 4th and 1 attempt. My world is right again.
Remember back in the old days when you could pretty much switch the channel once the Chiefs got inside the 5 because you knew that Larry Johnson would score? Those days are long gone. Five different times Sunday, Johnson failed to score on rushes from inside the five yard line. Although he did get screwed by the refs on one play where he clearly was over. Things move fast...
Another nostalgic thought: Remember when Seattle didn't suck?
The Giants stood toe to toe with Baltimore, one of the most physical and feared defenses in the league and absolutely shoved the ball down their throat. The most telling play to me was Jacobs' second touchdown. He took the handoff, shifted and found the hole at the goal line. Ray Lewis squared up and was in position to make the perfect stop. But instead, Lewis sort of chipped him with his right shoulder and Jacobs easily scored. Ray Lewis is inarguably a tough guy. But he looked like he wanted no part of Brandon Jacobs on that touchdown run.
San Francisco coach Mike Singletary nearly went Dick Vermeil on us after the game. Mike. Dude. You beat the Rams.
You had to love Philadelphia's Brian Dawkins quoting Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights after the tie game with Cincinnati. Saying there is only first place and losers.
And quick note to the football geeks. You knew the rule about overtime and Donovan McNabb did not. We get it. Now get over yourself.
On ESPN's Countdown show, Mike Ditka started playing the underdog card talking about his old Bears team. Keyshawn Johnson was quick to call him out. Said Johnson, "You had WALTER PAYTONNNNN."
New favorite player this week was Denver rookie Spencer Larsen. He started against Atlanta as the team's middle linebacker and fullback. He also opened the game on special teams, too.
ESPN's Tom Jackson said, "When I played, everyone went both ways." John Saunders was quick to jump in, "You mean they played on both sides of the ball."
San Diego found themselves facing a 3rd and 1. Naturally, they handed the ball to LaDainian Tomlinson. And Tomlinson didn't' come close to getting the yard. I don't remember that happening nearly as much in years past.
LenDale White was less than happy after the Titan's loss Sunday. "I only played three plays so I can't really tell you about what happened. I don't really know. I wasn't paying attention. I didn't care." There's the LenDale White we love. He'd been making me look bad of late. Acting like a grown up and all.
Rams QB Trent Green struggled Sunday. There are small signs that whisper "retire". Being benched for Brock Berlin pretty much screams "retire".
Oakland's JaMarcus Russell completed his first nine passes and finished the day with just one incompletion. Yeah, I saw that coming...
New England's Randy Moss said after the game that Miami had "disrespected" him by allowing him to work in single coverage. Cris Collinsworth said in the studio, "Man, I just realized I was disrespected my entire career."
Randy Moss is liking what he's seeing from his new quarterback. "Matt is getting in the comfort zone," Moss said. "He's playing some hellified ball."
Definition of a hot start: Titans running back Chris Johnson scored one two of the first three times he touched the ball Thursday.
Has Matt Cassel continued to live and practice in Southern California for the last few years? That's the impression you get listening to these idiots talking about how Cassel's never seen snow or cold weather before. He lives and works in the New England area, right?
Adam Schefter had the best line on Plaxico Burress when he said, "Burress is the Barney Fife of Hip Hop."
With 11:47 left in the first quarter, Miami cornerback Joey Thomas had racked up two pass interference flags on Donnie Avery. Easy Joey. Save something for the second half...
If you're Lovie Smith, how do you take Devin Hester off the kickoff return team. Seriously? How do you do it? (Week 17 Note - Didn't take me long to get an answer here from Mr. Manning...)
John Madden started off on a tangent about one of the Bears defenders being great at forcing fumbles. Madden said, "He's one of the best strippers in the league". Al Michaels was quick to jump in with the "so to speak". If they broadcast the producer's audio for Monday Night Football and let us hear what they're saying in the truck, I bet you could sell a ton of those on pay per view.
NFL Network's Jim Mora had an interesting take on Tiki Barber and the 2008 Giants. He said, "Barber probably couldn't make this team". Wow. That's pretty strong.
The Texans finally get a Monday Night game. And choose to wear the solid red pajama uniforms? Are you kidding me?
Houston's Chester Pitts was great before the game as he shouted to the players huddled around him. "Let's go guys. National TV! Everybody's Mama's watching."
I'm convinced most football fans have a memory about ten days long. The Cowboys were great. Then they were terrible. And now they're great again. Big picture, people. Big picture.
Here's what it's like to be a Bengals fan. Third string quarterback Jordan Palmer entered the game in the closing minutes. He was cheered by the remaining fans. Palmer's first pass was an awful throw that was picked off by Jim Leonhard and returned for a touchdown.
"I couldn't believe he threw it," said Leonhard. "I was shocked he threw it. It seemed like it took forever to get on it. It was like slow motion."
Peyton Manning was asked to assess his performance.
"I'm sure I could, but I'd rather not," Manning said with a laugh. "Our defense won the game for us."
The look of surprise on Mike Ditka's face Sunday morning when Chris Berman asked him to pick a winner between the Lions and Vikings was priceless. He stammered around with "We're picking the Lions - Vikings game?"
A new car is apparently the key to blissful happiness. I've learned that watching television commercials this month.
If I'm Jerry Jones, there are lots of things I might talk about. Questioning Marion Barber's toughness is not on that list though. I love Jones but, Guy, c'mon. You don't have to say everything that comes into your head.
Hats off to the Cardinals and the Bidwell family. I've been hard on them here over the years but they clinched a playoff spot Sunday. And it's been a while.
Tackle Darnell Dockett was great. "My coach was like, 'Act like you've been there before, act like you've been there before.' I said, 'Coach, I ain't been there before. I don't know how to act right now."' You have to love that.
Are television announcers physically capable of saying the name "Ed Reed" without saying "ball hawk" right afterwards? Watching TV, I think the answer is no.
Jacksonville's Matt Jones looks like he's finally suspended after being arrested for Cocaine. I'm not sure I'm following the priorities here. Jones was arrested and suspended back in October. And the league can't get the suspension enforced until the end of December? The Williams defensive guys in Minnesota and Deuce McAllister get pinched for a diuretic and the league does back flips to get them off field the next week?
Remember way back when the Packers could handle a powerhouse like the Texans at Lambeau?
Glitch in the Matrix: The Saints and Falcons each had 414 yards in total offense.
Chicago QB Kyle Orton needs to leave the spiking to one of the guys that knows what he's doing. Orton made a really nice play to score. He wound up to do the monster spike thing and ended up doing a whiff as the ball fell out of his hand on the back swing. Nice. The good news though is that the touchdown counts either way...
The only thing worse than giving up a kickoff return TD on the first play is winning the coin toss and electing to kickoff and then giving up a kickoff return TD on the first play. That's what the Saints did.
Keyshawn Johnson didn't mince any words talking about Terrell Owens. "He's crazy as a car full of monkeys." I'll admit I've never heard that one before.
I'm all for a nice wide tie knot with a spread collar shirt. But Stuart Scott has become comical. When the knot on your tie is six inches wide, do you consider just going for the Mr. Howell ascot?
Jim Mora's always good for a sound bite on the NFL Network. Monday he said, "I've always been a big lover of Brett Favre."
Atlanta coach Mike Smith had a terse exchange with Tampa Bay's Antonio Bryant. Bryant gave cornerback Domonique Foxworth a shove in front of the Atlanta bench.
"Antonio was on our sideline and I politely asked him to go back over to his sideline," Smith said.
I love Mike Tomlin. Steelers RB Willie Parker made some comments after the game that the Steelers weren't running the ball enough. Tomlin handled it just right. "Every morning I come to work I walk past five Lombardis, not five rushing titles. The issue is winning." What can you say to that?
And that'll do it.
Thanks for playing along and letting me write this goofy column each week. I hope you have a gas with whatever you're doing in your life. Here's to Football and we'll do this again next season.
Thanks to all the folks that helped me this year, especially Kyle Lebeda for his photo shop work and Keith Overton for holding this all together.
Shoot me an email at Bryant@footballguys.com if you've got an idea on how to make this better and thanks for reading this year.