1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002
Commentary From the Edge
By Kevin Ratterree
October 7, 2003

When I sat down to watch ESPN Countdown this Sunday, I had no idea what I was getting into.  I was ready for some football....I got handed Oprah. 

Yes I suppose one had to expect the Countdown crew to address the Rush Limbaugh fiasco, but what we got was so much more.  The gang was in "funeral face" mode from the start.  This was serious business.  Heartfelt apologies, admissions of wrongdoing, hanging Rush out to dry ("he was not one of us" ), quivering lips, bordering on crying, an estrogen filled marathon of feelings.  All rushing out in a sickening display worthy of any of the number of nauseating "reality shows" which have corrupted our airwaves.  Whether you cared for Rush or his comment or not, none of us deserved that melodramatic marathon.  A revolting final act in a contrived morality play, which in the end created all the publicity the network was seeking from the very start.  Bravo ESPN.

While still reeling from that fear of revenue loss inspired pity party, I turned over to see what the boys on Fox were doing.  They were playing their own game called Fox guys=good / ESPN guys=bad.  Fox, obviously smarting from the publicity play ESPN had pulled off, decided to let J.B, Terry, Howie, and Jimmie all take their shots at Rush and the countdown crew. 

Terry Bradshaw in a glorious finale, exclaimed that "if anybody came on this show and said the things Rush said, it wouldn't take us 3 days, or 2 days, or even 1 day to say something about it".  The only thing missing was the Star Spangled Banner playing in the background.  I almost expected to see a halo appear above Bradshaw's head as he grabbed J.B. and called him his "brother."

We now return you to your regularly scheduled football season.


Battle of the Longnecks:  Monday Night Football was a battle between the 2 QB's with the longest necks in the league. 

Edge James let down his team and his fantasy owners as a no-go on Monday Night.  Word is that he was over at Ricky Williams house where the two braided each others hair and talked about boys.

I wonder how the Indianapolis Ricky Williams like being referred to as "the other Ricky Williams".

The Gramatica "brothers" performance on Monday Night halftime was muy femenino.  After 5 seconds I was screaming at my wife "pinche por favor mis eardrums"!!!  (please puncture my eardrums)

Having Keyshawn Johnson mic'ed up  for MNF was a good idea.  I was beginning to think my disdain for the Mouth of the South was waning.  But then hearing Johnson diss Marvin Harrison all night, seemingly trying to convince himself and all his mates that he was better than Marvin, I, I still hate him.

A few weeks back a Huddler posted a thread about how annoying Joe Theismann was on Sunday Night Football.  Then the thread dwellers piled on Paul Maguire as well.  I have to agree.  I have noticed that these two guys use a few phrases over and over and over.  On this Sunday I decided to track both to them.  Here are the results:

Theismann used the phrase:  I think... or I  thought... a total of 22 times.  15 of those were in the 2nd half of a blowout, so we can conclude that if the game gets out of hand we will hear plenty of what Joe thinks.  Lucky us.

MaGuire has two phrases with different versions:

Let me tell you something.../ I'll tell you what...:  A total of 18 times with 9 in each half, and

Look at this! / Watch this! :  Paul used these similar phrases 8 times but only 2 after the half.

This was not a scientific experiment.  I did use the restroom, refill my drink and briefly acknowledge my wife's presence.  I did not count the numerous times Theismann said "I believe" instead of "I think."  And after watching football all day, listening to these two drone on I did get very drowsy a few times, so these numbers are conservative. 

The only thing more disturbing than the results is that I actually took the time to compile them.  Somebody for the love of God please help me!!!

Speaking of tortured souls, it's time for the MISERY INDEX:

10)  BRONCOS:  Shanahan pulled out every trick in the book, the Broncos outplayed the Chiefs for much of the game, yet in the end Dante's Inferno burns yet another victim.  

9)   CARDINALS:  Did you see the clip of an emotional Emmitt crying after the game.  Quite a display indeed.  Luckily he has a giant pile of green Kleenexes in his wallet compliments of the brilliant front office of the Deadbirds.  The injury to the future HOF'er will allow Shipp to resume his rightful role as starter.  I can hear the waiver wires humming.......

8)  CHARGERS:  Alright its official.  They stink even when Boston has the best game he could possibly have.  This is not going to be pretty.  I thought the  Bears had a good chance at 0-16, but this club could very well pick up the slack. 

7)  FALCONS:  Would anybody blame Mike Vick at this point if he suddenly developed "complications" that extend  his recovery until the end of the season.  I half expect Dan Reeves to start grabbing his chest and going "Fred Sanford" on the sidelines.

6)  JETS:  A bye week doesn't get you off the misery index.  A gang of Jets fans reportedly kidnapped Pennington and restrained him while a faith healer laid hands on him.  If that doesn't work the clandestine group is trying to figure out how to get Vinny to go with them on a snipe hunt Saturday night.

5)  BUNGLES:  This team after a heck of a run the last decade is in danger of running out of ways to lose.  They may very soon be forced to begin actually winning, but it is feared that may cause a cosmic shift in the universe with unknown and possibly tragic consequences.

4)  SAINTS:  Aaron Brooks hasn't been in a funk like this since he fell through the floor of his Granny's outhouse.  But, hey at least the Saints didn't quit this week.  Nope, not this week when I laid a bundle against them at 6 1/2 point underdogs.  They hung around just long enough for a junk time FG that pushed them 1/2 point over the spread.  Did I mention that I hate the Saints and gambling is evil.

3)  STEELERS:  What a totally pathetic display against Cleveland.  I haven't seen a beating like that since Gerry Cooney retired.  Tommy Maddox on the sidelines looked like a guy who just got back from a funeral, and found an eviction notice on his door.  The AFC North is the new molasses pit of the NFL.

2)  RAIDERS:  It seemed before last Sunday that the Bears were  the worst team in the league.  Apparently not.

1)   ATLANTA BRAVES:  Played 5 road games in the Division series and had to dodge Cub fans spilling onto the field after Chicago won game 5 in Dixie.   America's team?  They aren't even Atlanta's team.