Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy 2006!

Observations for this, my first entry of the new year...

I can't believe it. And neither can Cincinnati Bengals fans. No, I'm not talking about the thrashing the Chiefs handed down. I'm talking about the fact Neil Rackers actually holds an NFL record. And it's not one for futility!

Neil O'Donnell. It's not enough he quarterbacked the Steelers in the '95-'96 AFC Championship Game. Now, he has to come in as a Fox analyst, and make a meaningless game even less enjoyable for fans. Seriously...listening to Ye Olde Lumberjack Neil (who has shed the beard he famously wore for Pittsburgh) is like hearing Mike Tyson broadcast a game...except at an octave lower. And then he makes great observations like, "And when you're a quarterback, and nobody's open, you've gotta do something." Dear Lord, strike me down now.

Hey, that's two "Neils" in one game. The only thing that could've redeemed the Neil Rackers/Neil O'Donnell debacle would have been a performance by Neil Diamond. Alas, 'twas not to be.

As Lionel Richie once sang, "Once, Tice...four years a Viking." The Vikings canned Mike Tice in classy telling the coach right after the game, and then issuing a press release. I mean, didn't Sergeant Scalper deserve a little something better?'re right, no. But at least we can stop asking the Age-Old Question: "Why hasn't Mike Tice been fired yet?" For any "Dirty Work" fans out there, I'll sum it up this way: "Oh, Mike Tice got over his scalping problem. But the Vikings beat his coaching career to death anyway."

A Tony-winning performance. It was nice to see the Colts' scrubs hang on against Arizona. It's been a tough few weeks for Colts fans, with little to smile about because of the death of Coach Dungy's son. But the team showed a lot of character in gutting out a win, and giving Dungy the game ball.

And they ruled it a touchdown because? Um...did Josh McCown ever come close to breaking the plane on the fourth-and-goal play? Survey But "touchdown" was the initial call. And I also wonder: although McCown has decent size...he already fumbled at the goal line just a few plays before. And when you've got big-time receivers like Fitzgerald and Boldin, why not air it out, especially when your running game blows?

And it wasn't a safety because? I guess what goes around, comes around. The Colts had McCown in the grasp in the end zone, and it should've been a safety. But the officials placed the ball at like the two-yard-line. Why wasn't this a safety? Would someone give me an official explanation? If he'd been at the two-yard-line, and then pushed back, I'd understand. But Mighty Cowering McCown (that screwed them on the reversed TD at the end, by the way) was in the end zone when he was first hit, and chugged backwards further into the end zone. I'm just curious. I mean...after all...the Colts won the darn game.

Matt Giordano, cleared for takeoff. Wow, this guy can hit. Did you notice the one where Giordano nearly decapitated the Cards' tight end, but missed because his teammates were dragging the lucky schmoe down? Man...that would've been a killer hit.

Troy Smith is fast. Actually, Ohio State's whole offense is fast. One thing became glaringly apparent during the ND-OSU game yesterday: the Irish need more team speed on the defensive side of the ball. I know Saint Charlie will be recruiting new players and all that, but Troy Smith, Ted Ginn, and Santonio Holmes made the Irish look like they were sluggish with Guinness. I know this isn't a huge revelation, the Irish also looked sluggish with Guinness at times against USC.

And so we remember the coaches of 2005-2006. Please cue up a melancholy rendition of "Memories."

Raise a glass to...

  • Dick Vermeil, for a long and "emotional" career among the ranks of the NFL's elite coaches. Let this third retirement be a charm.
  • Mike Tice, for a four-year tenure marked with "reselling" Super Bowl tickets, undisciplined players, the Love Boat scandal, and the Whizzinator.
  • Jim Haslett, for making the front office, not Hurricane Katrina, sweep you away.
  • Mike Martz, for passing when you should run, using timeouts whenever you wanted, and helping give us the Greatest Show on Turf. Here's your straightjacket.
  • Dom Capers, for being a "solid" choice for an expansion franchise, and for making making sure the Colts were guaranteed two wins every season.
  • Mike Sherman, for giving Green Bay five solids seasons, and one really bad one. You remind us how badly it sucks to be the fall guy.

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