Sunday, September 11, 2005


This is my first Sunday column as the official Webmaster of LOCKERROOM. When Wikkidpissah (who I affectionately call Dogface Fishpizza) asked me to contribute my fantasy football expertise with an article in LOCKERROOM, I sent him a couple of draft articles to go over. Needless to say, he was very unimpressed, and docked me to the least desirable slot in the lineup: Sunday morning, when all of youse fantasy football experts have already made most of your choices and plan to sit back on your armchairs with beer in hand and a bag of chips on the other, in front of your newly bought 52-inch plasma TV’s. He specifically instructed me not to offer any fantasy football recommendations, and stick to maintaining the LOCKERROOM website. I reluctantly accepted his marching orders.

My task, then, is to bring a measure of dignity to this lowly slot in the bigger scheme of the LOCKERROOM universe, by taking potshots and offering sarcasm on the current goings-on in the National Football League and sports in general.

Here are my random observations of the NFL as the first Sunday of the season rolls around:

1. The Giants have an extra home game this season against the luckless New Orleans Saints. Bill Parcells, a rival NFC East coach, groused, “I’d be smart not to comment on that.” This is the uncensored version of what he really said:

2. Terrell Owens told the media, “I love Donovan.” Awwwwww. While he’s at it, how about sharing the same feelings with Philadelphia fans who have grown tired of his own tortured explanations about how he deserves to be one of the highest paid wide receivers in the NFL, if not the highest? He griped about his role with the 49ers and wanted out, and hired an agent who he believed would look out for his interests in the best way possible. When the agent, David Joseph, screwed up the paperwork that would have declared T.O. a free agent, and the 49ers shopped him off to Baltimore in a trade, he started bellyaching and wanted to go to a better team. He got his wish, but not the contract he wanted.

You know, you don’t see him getting any major marketing endorsements. If he was just a little bit nicer and more diplomatic, he would’ve started earning millions of dollars from those endorsements, and become a little quieter about his comparatively modest NFL paycheck. But because Nike or Reebok or Pepsi won’t lay a shoe or cola near him, most of his eggs are practically in the NFL basket, so we can understand his nervousness about getting his fair share of the money, because he simply won’t get the bucks anywhere else.

The way he picked David Joseph, and how he attempted to defend him after the paperwork screwup, tells me that I would never want T.O. to be my boss, no matter how many millions of dollars he would throw at me. He’s just not a very good manager, period. I’d be spending more time trying to manage him than the other way around.

Team players get paid well for their work. Great leaders who know how to manage and inspire get paid quite as well. On the other hand, lone wolves don’t get the same kind of compensation.

Good luck, T.O. Honestly, I really want you to do well this season, because I have Donovan McNabb in my squirrel-eyed fantasy league.

3. Brett Favre is nuts. I mean it in a good way. He lost his father and brother-in-law, his wife is battling breast cancer, and now his house in Mississippi – where he spent his childhood and still owns the ranch -- got blown down by a hurricane. At his age, when he has achieved all he has set out to do in the NFL, including a Super Bowl title, countless records, and the love and admiration he deserves not only in Green Bay but across the country, I would have just moved on and focused on family and the future, and taken care of urgent priorities like an ill wife and a destroyed house. What’s incredible about Favre is not that he has the pluck and the moxie to go right on ahead and start a brand new NFL season, not that he has the support and admiration of the Wisconsin faithful, but because his family has truly supported him in his decisions along the way, and will support him in every way possible in what might be the most challenging season of his career.

4. I love listening to Mike Tice’s comments. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a less qualified NFL head coach, and every time I listen to him at a press conference, I just start laughing. As a public service, I’ve found some quotations on the Web that are attributed to him, and provide them here without comment:

“I thought last week’s game was ugly and this was even uglier.”

“It’s a shame anyone had to lose that. What a great rivalry.”

“We thought we had the ball. I guess we didn’t have the ball. That was just a myth.”

5. The New Orleans Saints – bless their hearts – are facing a season no team has ever faced. I hesitate to put down a prediction on how well they will do in 2005, because this really depends on how the coach can rally the troops and inspire them to keep winning game in and game out during what is practically an all-road season, when some of their players are dealing with the fact they may have lost their own homes. It will be truly amazing if they can make it all the way to the Super Bowl this year, but I will pencil them for an incredible season if they finish 8-8. You heard it here first.

Onward, cavalry!

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