From True/Slant on September 10, 2009:
Mishaps, Mayhem and Misery to Actively Root for in the NFL Season
The 2009 NFL season is full bore upon us, full of predictions, power rankings, prevarications, prognostications and pretenders. Predictions? Always wrong. Power Rankings? Feh. Like the Grinch, I’m looking for the negative, reveling in anticipation of potential failures. Here are some massive miscues I’m hoping for:
1. The New England Patriots come back to earth. Patriots fans rationalize last year’s 11-5 record reflected one thing and one thing only: Tom Brady on the IR. The man who looks as comfortable on a runway at Fashion Week as he is on a gridiron, the modelizer in chief with the Hollywood good looks and silly hipster hats is back.
But will it really catapult New England back to the top of the pecking order?
Personally, I hope GQ Tom is healthy — no excuses from beantown this year. I wonder about the rest of the team. The offensive line, once a perfect stonewall around Giselle’s hubby, shows cracks and it’s possible his uni may get a wee dirty from time to time. The defense has lost too many players to count and is weak against the pass.
Meanwhile, sneaky Bill Belichick seems less evil. He used to be positively Cheney-esque and I honestly think opposing coaches caved against him for fear that he would reach down their throats and eat their still beating hearts at the 50 yard line. But between tearing up at Tedy Bruschi’s retirement and even occasionally smiling at training camp, Head Hoodie seems almost human.
2. The Minnesota Vikings get a big bite in the ass from Lady Karma. With all the coaching talent out there, with Bill Cowher, Brian Billick, Tony Dungy and Mike Shanahan out of work, and given the success of the bright young guys like Mike Tomlin, Ken Whisenhunt and John Harbaugh, I find it hard to imagine how the Vikings organization reflected and said, “Yeah, Brad Childress. He’s the guy to take this team to the next level and get us that elusive Lombardi Trophy. Yuppers.” As a southern friend of mine used to say, rilly?
This off-season, Childress created a bidding war against himself for the services of Brett Favre by publicly slavering over the 40 year old interception king. (Hey, I actually like Favre, so this is no knock on him). Childress obsessed like one of those adolescent girls fixated on the “Twilight” books. He begged and pleaded. He called. And called. And called. He had to have Favre; couldn’t win without Favre; it all came down to mighty Brett Favre. Then, with the evanescent Favre secured and cloaked in Minnesota purple, Childress sent his irreplacable QB out in a wildcat formation, whereupon the elder indispensable man committed an illegal crackback block, injuring Texans DB, Eugene Wilson in the process. In a meaningless pre-season game. The league fined Favre $10,000 for the hit. They should have fined Childress. $50,000 for being a dickhead.
3. The only thing worse that the Head Hoodie in New England is Hoodie Lite, Josh McDaniels, in Denver. He’s got all of the ego and none of the substance. McDaniels has alienated not only the fans, but his entire team in record speed. A petulant child with a multi-million dollar arm Jay Cutler may be, but he knew the Broncos ship was sinking the minute the ersatz Bellichick arrived in town.
To paraphrase Joan Cusack: just because I wear a hoodie with the sleeves cut off and draw up defenses on a legal pad doesn’t make me Bill Bellichick. Never will.
4. Presenting: Jerry Jones and his amazing punt-blocking videoscreens! Okay, so Jones spent $1.2 billion to build a new stadium and he wanted every bell and whistle available, and even a few whistles that hadn’t been invented yet. So he sent his minions into the future and they came back with a Deathstar sized HD videoscreen to suspend over the field. So fans could see the game without actually looking at the field in front of them where the Cowboys will actually play the games. I know Jones was trying to create an amazing multi-media, all-out visual and aural assault on every synapse in the brain of every fan in the stands. He was going for a wow factor beyond mere football and while it’s not my style, I kinda get it.
It was all grand until a jabeep free agent punter for Tennessee doinked a punt off the undercarriage of the videoboard. Not the regular punter for the Titans, mind you, nor in a regular season game. It was a free agent destined to for the slag heap who hit the videoboard. Jerr’Jones’ response? “Ah, that’ll never happen during a regular season game.” Really? Well, in case it does, the league has allowed for a do-over and I am fervently praying that we see at least a dozen balls bounce off that thing this season.
5. Little Danny Snyder’s crash and burn. He’s obnoxious, he’s cocky, he hangs out with Tom Cruise (which is just gross enough without continuing), and he never met an overpriced free-agent he didn’t like. This year, Snyder’s front office sued a little old lady long-time Redskins season-ticket holder who has fallen on hard economic times and couldn’t pay for her season tickets through the life of the contract.
Yes, I know she was legally obligated. I get it. But the Redskins could very easily have let Granny out of her contract and sold that seat license to somebody else two minutes later. Unless the speculation the once legendary Redskins season ticket wait list has evaporated as a result of Snyder’s mismanagement and general assholery is true.
Whatever the case of the mysterious waiting list, this incident demonstrates little Danny Snyder’s modus operandi. Let’s face it, he spends more over Sunday coffee than the default judgement (about $66,000) against the sad sack Granny. The team was well within the law to pursue a judgment, but did they have to? They honestly couldn’t come up with any other solution? I find it hard to believe that the franchise would go freaking bankrupt with out this old broad’s money.
I like Clinton Portis, Jason Campbell, Cornelius Griffin and H.B. Blades. I have long admired Redskins fans — the Hogs, “Hail to the Redskins” and the way that the old RFK used to shake from ground to rafters when the fans really got going. Still, I hope they go 0-16 and we get to see vile little Danny cry like Cindy Brady in the owner’s box.