For the second week in a row, I begin by talking about something that doesn’t affect football. For the second week in a row, I am ashamed that I have to talk about it. Steroids is a topic that has been rampant in several sports, most notably track and baseball. There have been allegations and innuendos, but no solid proof that the top athletes were using. Now, we finally have some substance to show why a 40 year old man hit one-third of his career home runs after age 35, and why he never hit more than fifty a season until age 36. During the same time, the current home run leader hit about twenty percent of career home runs, and less than 50 in his last three years combined. Basically, my point is the players that have used have tarnished not only their sport but every other sport as well. Going forward, every great accomplishment is open to scrutiny, as to whether or not it was earned honestly. Their actions have cheapened every good player out there playing the game and there is simply no excuse for their actions. They cheated, plain and simple and they should be banned from their respective hall of fame. Those players are not worthy of our honor or respect of their place in history.
Now on to football…
Crazy Like A Fox
I want to say how great a job John Fox is doing, though no one will give him a second thought with a 5-7 record. Coach of the Year will probably go to Marty Schottenheimer, which is probably well deserved. However, Fox’s team four weeks ago was 1-7, coming off a heartbreaker at home against Oakland and losers of six straight. The team has been decimated by injuries, and is on their fourth-string RB, third-string D lineman and lost their #1 WR. Regardless, the team kept fighting and has won four straight and are only one game out of the final playoff spot. Considering the exceptional mediocrity that is the NFC and the Rams losing Marc Bulger, it is not inconceivable that they could slide into the number six spot. This will have them most likely going to Lambeau after the Vikings perform their late season fold, but a hell of a coaching job either way. I am sorry I wrote them off and hope they make it, even if they do get beat in the first round.
The Pack Got Jacked
The battle of two supposed mammoth teams in the NFC came together at Lincoln Field on Sunday. That prediction turned out to be only half right. At least there were enough fireworks to keep everyone interested. Donovan McNabb had a career day as the game was over midway through the second quarter. McNabb threw for over 300 yards and five touchdowns in the first half, three to Westbrook (which ended my hopes at a division title, I might add, since I was facing both of them). The defense throttled Favre into two picks and no TDs. At least Sherman didn’t leave Favre in to get a cheap touchdown pass and continue his streak, which ended at 36 straight games with a TD pass. I love to see records being broken but not cheaply, especially since Favre handed the sack record to Michael Strahan three years ago.
Speaking of records, let’s recap some of the records that could be (or have been) broken this year:
Passing TDs – Manning 44, Marino 48 (1984)
Passing Yards- Manning 3621, Marino 5084 (1984)
Most 400 yd games in a season- Manning 4, Marino 4 (1984)
Most games four or more TD passes- Manning 6, Marino 6 (1984)
Most consecutive games four or more TD passes- Manning 5, Marino 4 (1984) (new record)
Most Points Season- Colts 431, Vikings 556 (1998)
Highest Passer Rating – Roethlisberger 103.2, Marino 96.0 (1984)
Highest Completion Percentage- Roethlisberger 67.7, Marino 58.45 (1984)
Most Wins, First Season- Roethlisberger 10 (still active), Chris Chandler, 9 (1988)
Most Consecutive Wins – Roethlisberger 10 (still active), Mike Kruczek, 6 (1976)
On a side note, neither the Vikings nor the Dolphins won the Super Bowl in these record setting years, bringing light to the point that offense isn’t everything. However the league is much more exciting, which is the desired effect of all the marketing and “emphasis.”
Since I mentioned the Vikings, can someone please explain to me what happened Sunday? They had their star WR back, and all they can muster is 14 points against the Bears? If they finish .500 in the last four games, they could be out of the playoffs again! Didn’t this team learn anything last year? The Packers gave them an opportunity to take back the division lead and they declined. They don’t have the easiest schedule, having to travel to Seattle and Detroit, and hosting the Packers and Redskins. The NFC North could be up in the air until the Vikes host the Pack in Week 16. I have to question whether Randy Moss is truly 100%, or is he simply the same old Randy, playing only when he wants to play.
Just Plain Lousy Game of the Week: STL vs. SF – The only highlight to this game was the TD pass from Chandler to Holt. After Bulger left in the first with a shoulder injury, the Greatest Show on Turf put up all of 13 points against the 1-10 49ers. The more depressing fact is the Rams at 6-6 are still in the NFC Wild Card Race, and one game back of the division lead. This game was actually used to treat insomniacs, and the early testing shows it was quite effective.
The Titans scored twenty-four points in the first quarter against the Colts and never scored again. Did they think that would be enough to win? I don’t think so, and I can’t quite figure this team out yet.
If you are in desperate need of a QB, you may want to take a look at Chad Hutchinson. After Jacksonville, the Bears have three soft passing defenses to face in the Texans, Lions and Packers. Remember, I did say Hutchinson and I did say desperate.
I half expected to literally see heads flying off by the end of the Jax-Pit game. That was the hardest-hitting contest I have seen in a long time.
There are five teams in the NFC still in the playoff hunt. At 5-7. Wow.
On to next week…