Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Thursday Crap-O-Rama?

Week 12: I’m Ron Burgundy?

Welp, the window’s closed. Thud. The Eagles have become an absolutely hopeless cause for at least the next 18 months, and I have no idea what to do with myself. It’s been a while since it’s been like this.

It’s an odd feeling, knowing your team is going to completely bottom out but hasn’t done it yet. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. The culture’s gotta change. The centerpieces have rotted. Insert empty clichés here. As always, please try to mix your metaphors as clumsily as possible.

It’s 1983 all over again, except with Andy Reid in an unprecedented dual role: half of him is playing the outward-bound Dick Vermeil and the other 200 pounds of shit is playing the incoming Marion Campbell. It took three years to ferret Campbell out of there an another two for his replacement to drag the team back to respectability. How much rope is the greatest coach in franchise history going to get? A decade? I don’t remember the coaching acumen of Tom Landry or Chuck Noll deteriorating this quickly, so, while stability of that nature is a noble goal, it’s time to stop thinking about that slice o’ pie in the sky, eh.

At least this time, the franchise has the benefit of an owner whose life savings aren’t hemorrhaging onto a blackjack table in Atlantic City, and who’s more concerned with running a good organization than selling used cars. (Note to those of you fortunate enough not to be Eagles fans: those are references to the two owners the Eagles had during the 1983-1987 period, Leonard Tose and Norman Braman, respectively. Sad, ain’t it?)

Which leads me to this:

[puts shotgun in mouth]

No, no, that’s in poor taste. Hope you’ve found some peace, Andre.

(Makes you wonder about the effects of adoration from the Philadelphia faithful, rare as it is. If we showed any affection to Mike Schmidt or Steve Carlton in their day, they’d probably be dead now. Still, I can’t believe the three biggest icons on the team of my youth are all dead. And Dexter Manley and Lawrence Taylor are still alive – as of press time, at least.)

Ah, shit, where had I led myself up there? Oh, here:

The Redskins.

(Man, that wasn’t even close to a full “sportscaster paragraph.” I’m developing a mastery of this.)

Yeah, the Redskins. Maybe Boy $nyder’s got it right after all. Sure, they’ve had only two winning seasons in the dozen-odd years he’s owned the team, but every year, he manufactures, packages, and sells hope, and as someone who’s got none of it all of the sudden, I know that’s a precious commodity. Don’t discount the value of mere hope to a fan; it’s why we have wild-card entries to the playoffs, so more fans can savor ‘em some of that precious hope.

Boy $nyder neglects the draft and the salary cap and overspends on big-name, over-the-hill players. He insulates himself with a front-office full of yes men. He squeezes every last nickel out of every imaginable revenue stream, even when they threaten to compromise his team’s competitive advantages. (See: Charging admission to practices.) But when was the last time that, at the beginning of training camp, you could look at the Redskins and say, “they have no shot whatsoever to compete for a playoff spot”?

I think Richie Petitbon was the coach the last time that happened.

At least the $kins’ organizational management theories, misguided as they may be, produce a sliver of hope every year. Maybe, just maybe, if everything breaks right and everyone stays healthy and Player X has just one more good year left in his creaky old bones, we’ll be right there at the end.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to say that about my team.

Unless I change teams. And if that were possible, it’d have already happened. Lord knows I’ve tried.

Now, let’s pick on these games until they finally can’t stand it anymore and slap me across the face with their enormous shadow-casting hand. But first, a reminder: next time you see me just lay on the ground ‘cause you dead. You a dead man, that’s all! Mind ya bidness!

Carolina at Washington
You can hope in one hand and shit in the other one, and… you know how that goes, I guess.
Pick: Carolina

Miami at Detroit
Dolphins versus Lions, aka “The Sorry Joey, Now We Realize It Was Matt Millen’s Fault All Along Bowl.”
Pick: Miami

Tampa Bay at Dallas
I am planning to attend the Cowboys’ Super Bowl parade just so I know what one looks like. Dave, let me know if you want me to send pictures.
Pick: Dallas

Denver at Kansas City
Lamar Hunt has been whining for years about the Cowboys and Lions getting exclusive Thanksgiving home games, and now he finally gets one of his own. Of course, no one will see it. He has moved on to requesting that the NFL build him a Tim Hortons in Overland Park, Kans.
Pick: Kansas City

Arizona at Minnesota
Visionary coach Brad Childress has ushered in a new paradigm of NFL football: Run the ball, stop the run, still suck ass.
Pick: Arizona

Chicago at New England
Here’s a perfect opportunity for Bill Belichick to use all the crazy defensive schemes that don’t work on Peyton Manning anymore.
Pick: New England

Cincinnati at Cleveland
Another week of hilarious taunting was cut short when Chad Johnson couldn’t remember the name of anyone who plays defensive back for the Browns.
Pick: Cincinnati

Houston at NY Jets
Two teams with atrocious defenses that will still struggle to score 17 points on each other.
Pick: Jets

Jacksonville at Buffalo
This is a regular Sunday game, which means Jack Del Rio is a moron again. Won’t hurt him in this game.
Pick: Jacksonville

New Orleans at Atlanta
The next time Michael Vick tests his 40-yard time he should do it on a 39-yard dock.
Pick: New Orleans

New York Potrzebie System of Weights and Measures Giants at Tennessee
Tom Coughlin finally figured out why Eli Manning’s passes continue to be chronically errant despite improved mechanics: He’s trying to impersonate that old McDonald’s commercial: “Off Shockey’s awesome patriotic tattoo, off the scoreboard, off the down marker, off the safety’s balls, nothing but Plax’s hands!”
Pick: New York Ralph & Rhonda Giants

Philadelphia at Indianapolis
Unfortunately NBC’s flex scheduling rights don’t allow them to put this game back where they found it and replace it something worth watching, like a Grand Prix race with all the cars driven by unmedicated epileptics.
Pick: Indianapolis

Pittsburgh at Baltimore
If Brian Billick is a fool and no one is there to prove it, is he still a fool? I say yes.
Pick: Baltimore

San Francisco at St. Louis
After getting totally humiliated on the road last week, the Rams find a way to win against a decent but beatable team. (Really, was that any less funny than any of the other horseshit I’ve written?)
Pick: St. Louis

Oakland at San Diego
San Diego scoreboard operator treated for exhaustion… Film at eleven.
Pick: San Diego

Green Bay at Seattle (plus total points)
Another exhibit of why it was a good idea for the NHL to schedule its national TV games on Monday nights.
Pick: Seattle 243, Green Bay 174

(Really, it’s not like I’m going to get enough games right to get to a tiebreaker, so I may as well predict 417 points.)

Alright, show’s over. Enjoy the turkey neck. And if you see that pinko commie Matty, don’t forget to goof on him. He hates our freedom so much that he doesn’t even eat Thanksgiving turkey!

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