Monday, December 25, 2006

NFL Thoughts, Week 16

First of all, Merry Christmas to everyone! Also, I appreciate everyone’s cards and/or gifts. I also want a take a moment to answer a question my sister asked: No, Lydia, it was not a problem for me that you used the word “shit” in your Xmas card—at least, not after you used the word “damn” twice.

This was a fabulous Panthers weekend. Just tremendous. Come what may next week, I will never forget this weekend’s Panthers-Falcons game—ever. Coach Fox, I take back all I’ve said about you (though not all that I’ve thought). Instead of choosing between injured Jake Delhomme or ineffective Chris Weinke at quarterback, Fox just went with nobody—and to think I’ve criticized him for being too conservative! I mean, deciding to play a football game without a quarterback is about as “outside the box” as you can get. I bet anyone who just looked at the box score and saw that Weinke only passed 7 times probably assumed that Falcons LB Ed Hartwell must have swallowed Chris whole and spit out his ACL midway through the first quarter. Nope, instead Coach Fox figured that because passing—at least to teammates—hasn’t been Weinke’s “strong suit” thus far, the Panthers should just try to run it. And because Weinke would just be handing off anyway, why not just cut out the middleman and snap it directly to DeAngelo Williams? "Whatever fashion we did it in, we did it," sayeth wise old sage Keyshawn Johnson afterward. The Panthers might have 99 problems but a coach ain’t one.

Meanwhile, in a heartwarming story just in time for the holidays, Chicago Bears DL Tank Johnson has issued a “10-Point Program” for turning his life around, according to Inside the NFL’s Peter King. Among the points are “no pit bulls” and “no guns.” Unfortunately, King didn’t reveal the other eight. In case you haven’t followed this story, police found 6 unlicensed firearms in Johnson’s house shortly before his bodyguard was killed at a club. And if you haven’t followed this story, that’s probably because the media buried it under headlines about the “latest” NBA brawl, which was an interesting choice of words considering the most recent brawl happened over two years ago. Double standards are a confusing fact of life. I'm still trying to figure out why Axl Rose was so villified for using the homosexual "f-" word in one of his songs (one that wasn't even released), yet Dire Straits used it repeatedly in "Money For Nothing" and it became one of the most beloved 80s singles ever.

Offensive Player of the Week: Marc Bulger, Rams. 25/38 for 388 yards, 4 TDs, 0 interceptions. All this after not only his team gave up on him, so did the fans and the television coverage…

Defensive Player of the Week: Aaron Kampman, Packers. 3 sacks and 7 tackles in a truly wretched game against the Vikings. This was the sort of game you could sentence a felon to watch. I cannot believe how badly Minnesota performed with the playoffs—and, more importantly, my pick—on the line.

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