Well, it’s that time of year, the time when all the sports pundits sit around and endlessly analyze what went right and what went wrong with football teams around the US. Who am I to be the exception? Nobody, that’s who. I’m going to divide this up into two parts, what went wrong, and what went right. Today’s column is a salute to the wrong side of the NFL.
What do these things have in common?
the New York Jets, and
All have had high expectations from coaching changes. None of those expectations have been met. All the coaches came out of New England’s system under Bill “the cheatin’ hoodie” Belichick.
Not so easy to run up a winning record when you don’t have tape of the opposition’s signals, is it Charlie? Brett Favre couldn’t bail you out, Mangini? And Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo? You’re a nice guy, but you’re a lousy coach, dude. So far, the Beliclones are not doing so well. Getting that tradition of skullduggery started in a new city must be tough. My only wish is that someone would pay me the kind of money those guys are getting for doing a piss-poor job. I would rest comfortably on my laurels, and you wouldn’t hear from me any more. Retirement, here I come! Charlie Weis in particular should be ashamed of the money he's taking away from the Catholic Church. They could be doing a lot of good with that seven million, restoring a fresco or two, buying the pope a new hat, or funding some orphanages. Touchdown Jesus is weeping somewhere.
A few more things that have some common ground.
What do they have in common? Bad ownership, that’s what.
In Oakland, Al Davis is just a scary, scary man. Nothing will truly change there until he’s either died or metamorphosed. Your guess is as good as mine as to which will happen.
Detroit is just inept. They’re like the opposite of King Midas; everything they touch turns to shit. I think they need to do like the Arena League and take a year off to regroup. And draft something other than a damn wide receiver for a change.
Then there’s Dallas. Ah, Dallas. Despite being shoved down our throats every year as “America's team”, they aren’t and never will be. This group is pitiful. The players are so busy throwing each other and the coaching staff under the bus, it’s a wonder they have time to get endorsement contracts. Underachievement is their constant watchword. And in Wade Phillips, son of O.A (Old Asshole) “Bud” Phillips, Jerry Jones has the perfect head coach. Someone who will never, ever interfere in what Jerry Jones wants. A billion dollar stadium. All the plastic surgery money can buy.
A team made of drama queens to keep Jerry in the spotlight. What more could an egomaniac want? A super bowl trophy? Don’t be silly. This team doesn’t need a dumb Lombardi to prove what they are. All they need is a statue of TO, because he exemplifies everything they’re about. Let the Dallas press clamor all they want for Phillips’ head, it will never happen so long as he lets Jerry Jones run the real show.
Three teams that could have gone either way this year, the biggest disappointment has to be Jacksonville. They were poised to make a good run deep into the playoffs, and they just… imploded. I can’t explain it. I didn’t see enough of their games to know for sure but I think they relied too much on the big quarterback being a tough guy and had a lack of offensive balance. It’s a disappointment, but it doesn’t change the fact that whether he’s 11-5 like last year or 5-11 like this year, Jack DelRio is still the best-dressed coach in football.
Seattle’s year reminded me of a less competent Steelers team in Bill Cowher’s final year as coach but with more apathy and less skill. And Buffalo just makes me sad. I am sure they’d be delighted to see a Super Bowl loss, or any sort of playoff hope, but this year went the way of so many before, into mediocrity and an early end to their season.
Kansas City, St. Louis, and Cincinnati? Just a simple case of more of the same. It’s a good thing those cities have baseball teams, it gives them something to look forward to. Football is certainly not going to improve there any time soon. St. Louis probably has the most talented team of the three and has the best chance at a rebound in the next several years, and they have a real star in Steven Jackson, if they can keep him. Kansas City continues a new tradition of football ineptitude. I remember not so long ago we used to worry about getting them in the playoffs. No longer. And Cinci is now nothing but a punch line in a long series of jokes, most of them starting with either Chad Ocho Cinco or an arrest.
Until next time, when I’ll have happier times in the NFL with some big turnarounds, playoff hopes, and for real predictions.