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Commentary From the Edge - Week 7
Kevin Ratterree
October 18, 2005

I did not watch the Bill Romanowski interview on 60 Minutes.  I have better things to do with my time.  Like watching NFL Prime Time, checking the final scores from my fantasy games, double checking my betting card just to make absolutely sure I lost that 5 team parlay.  The kind of things most real football fans would be doing.  So I have to ask, who is Romanowski trying to reach?  It must be non fans to which Romo is offering his cloven hoof.  Maybe they will be interested to read the sordid story of one of football's most hated players.  The leg whips.  The intentional bone breaking.  Eye gouging.  The steroids.  The career built almost entirely on a foundation of cheating and dirty play. 

CBS in it's never ending quest to trump Fox's Sunday night schedule for shock value, will apparently sink to any depth.  This is news?  Not to anybody that knows the game, that's for sure.  So the big eyeball network finds itself pimping for a sociopath.  I guess that's not really news either.    

When I saw the CBS promo showing Romo dropping tears, ever the sensitive soul that he is, I wanted to throw a brick through my television.  A pathetic and transparent plea to sell a half million nicely bound editions of excrement.  Is there no limit to the torture the American television viewing audience must endure?  Seeing Romo blubbering like a baby evoked only one emotion in me, and that was an intensification in my level of hatred toward him.  And the sad thing is that there are idiots who will waste hard earned to read his big book of confessions.  So, as is so often the case a sociopath will be financially rewarded for their socially unacceptable behavior.  Keep feeding the rats, and they will never leave.

Speaking of rats, the big one in Denver must be feeling pretty good about now.  Just when we wrote him off too.  I guess just because he couldn't have a good draft if he stood in a wind tunnel doesn't mean he can't lead his team to victory.  Rat, here's your props.  I thought you were trapped in the sewer hole with a flood coming but instead you slithered your way up to the street. 

I took some grief on the message boards a few weeks ago when I mentioned that Tatum Bell would likely end the season with similar stats to Willie Parker.  Of course this was back when Parker was ripping it up, his owners were giddy and hearing none of it.  Reminds me of the scene in a movie where a guy crawling in the desert sees an oasis, but it is only a mirage.  In points per reception scoring Bell has pulled ahead of Parker by 6 points, and Parker has 5 points in each of his last 3 games.  Looks like I was wrong after all.  Bell's stats will probably end up much better than Parker's.  Oops.  My bad.

While we are on the subject of prognostication I thought I'd give you a quick update on a few of my preseason predictions.  A lot of you probably think of me as just a smart ass hack writer.  While that analysis may be accurate, I'd like to think of myself as a smart ass hack writer with a clue.  I wrote a column entitled 10 Players to Avoid in Your Draft way back before the exhibition games began.  I advised against drafting the following players at their average mock draft positions at that time.  On the list were

  1. W. McGahee:   A slow start but the change at quarterback alleviated my expressed fear about McGahee going in so I take a mulligan on this one!
  2. R. Moss:  Certainly has to be considered a bust at this point and now he has an undisclosed injury.  Look out below.
  3. K. Collins:    Collins is hanging around 15th in performance scoring for quarterbacks, well below where he was drafted.
  4. T. Bell:      Was being drafted 3rd round in mocks, so he has underperformed to this point at that lofty draft position.  Looks ok from here on.
  5. A. Green:   In the dumpster.
  6. K. Warner:  Ditto
  7. D. Stallworth:  Still disappears every other game.  If you can predict the games that will happen in he is a great player to have this year.
  8. L. Jordan:   I missed the mark on this one so far.  I still have durability questions as the season wears on though.
  9. M. Bennett:  An anchor to the Viking vessel and any fantasy team that drafted him.  Why won't you people listen!!!
  10. D. Culpepper:   My shining achievement.  I was so alone on this one I could hear crickets chirping as I typed the words.

I only revisit this to give you some accountability for the stuff I put out there.  And of course to placate my massive male ego, so I can check that of the list now.  I never get tired of being right.  

This whole game we are hopelessly addicted to is all about predictions.  And it's amazing how close we can come to being geniuses or idiots on any given week in the NFL.  Last week I placed waiver wire requests in the Huddle Top Gun Writers League In the following order:  Brian Finneran / Patrick Pass/ etc..  I was in the back half of the waiver wire order and figured I would get neither of my top 2.  But as fate would have it Finneran got plucked but Pass did fall to me.  An injury in my starting lineup led to the emergency start of Pass, who proceeded to go off in Dillon's stead.  Boom!  I'm a genius!  Of course if Finneran had fallen to me instead, I would have probably found myself starting Finneran (0 points) and Larry Johnson (crapola).  It's good to be good.  But it's great to be lucky.

You think it's easy to get it right in this wacky league?  The NFL Sunday Countdown crew are having an "elimination" pool to simply pick one winner every week.  There are 6 ESPN "experts" participating in the contest, and in week six they started "round 3."  And these are guys that are supposed to be NFL "insiders." 

Back to the topic of luck, my preseason darlings the Carolina Panthers are walking a tightrope.  This weeks version of "why did I bet so much money on this game" was a gut wrencher.  When they dragged Delhomme off the field in the final minutes and handed the ball to Chris Weinke, it looked like Ramen Noodles at the Ratterree house this week.  Weinke, who hadn't took a meaningful snap in 2 years pulled a Joe Montana and led them right down the field for the winning touchdown on a 3rd and goal.  Into the bye week on the wings of an angel, miraculously just a game shy of the Buccaneers.  It's great to be lucky.

The Panthers luck may not hold out long if John Fox keeps plugging Stephen Davis in at running back.  It seems like almost every offensive series goes like this: handoff to Davis for a gain of 2.  Handoff to Davis for a gain of 1.  Incompletion on 3rd and long, or 80 yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith.  That is the whole season for the Panthers.  I do not understand what Fox is trying to accomplish.  Deshaun Foster is better than Davis.  Nick Goings is better than Davis.  And that seems obvious to everybody in the free world except for John Fox.  Loyalty?  Not always the best policy.

Crazy as Hell Pick of the Week:  I told you I was onto something. I am a perfect 0-2 with these crazy as hell picks and I am confident I can keep this up.  This week there is a game that is just screaming at me, like a wife that just found panties in the backseat of the SUV.  This one is almost too easy.  Take a look at the nice juicy 7 point spread in the Jets at Falcons game.  Are you kidding me?  The Jets are 2-4.  They have lost every road game they have played by at least 10 points.  The Falcons are averaging 24 points a game, the Jets 13.  The Jets were gashed for 174 yards on the ground last week at Buffalo, and Atlanta is one of the best rushing teams in the league.  The Jets have the creaky Testaverde behind center, the exact polar opposite of Mike Vick.  And the topper is that the Jets have now lost their starting center Mawae.  On the road, on Monday Night football.  This is as close to a sure thing as you will ever find outside of a brothel.  Therefore, if you have been paying attention to how this new feature works, by now you already know my pick.  Jets +7.  Rock solid lock. 


10) Buccaneers:  How does a team leading their conference get in the misery index?  I think the loss of the only viable quarterback on your roster would qualify.  Galloway owners like myself, who struck fantasy gold are now likely left holding pyrite.

9) Packers.  A tragic thing happened while the Packers were on a bye.  Two teams from the NFC North played each other so one team was forced to chalk up a win, meaning the Packers at 1-4 are now a full game behind the division leaders at 2-3.   Green Bay will play Minnesota this week so the question of who is the worst team in the worst division in football will finally become clearer.

8) Patriots:  Well, they still haven't lost two in a row.  But they haven't won more than one in a row either.  That works out to 8-8 if my math is correct.  Now Bruschi is going Mighty Mouse on us, here he comes to save the day.  After a stroke.  Playing football.  This does not feel right.  But hey, nothing perks up a losing season like a star player collapsing on the field.  Priorities.  They can get fuzzy.

7) Jets:  Oh Mawae me.  Testaverde's magic lasted exactly one game.  Now this team is in a bad spot indeed.  The starting center is gone, and the semi-retired quarterback will be lucky to last more than a few more games upright.  And their brutal schedule suggests a season pass to the misery index is in order.   

6) Saints:  Fought a hard game on the road against a superior opponent, clawed their way into a tie, and were moments away from overtime.  Then they took a defensive holding penalty on a missed field goal as time ran out, giving the kicker another chance.  That's like working a cocktail waitress all night, then throwing up in the car on the way back to her place.  A defining moment on the football field if there ever was one.

5) Lions:  Do not ask for whom the bell tolls.  It tolls for Joey Harrington.  He had every opportunity to win the home game against the Panthers.  We'll be seeing Garcia the second he's healthy enough to shove out onto the field.  But with such a pathetic offensive line, and apparently no receivers, Garcia will probably quickly re-injure himself trying to single handedly carry the team, and Joey will come back to his now familiar chorus of boo's.  And the Lions will continue to live in the captivity of the feces filled cage that is this season.

4) Raiders:  Well, this is just not working out well at all.  When Moss came to town Raider Nation was ready to pop open the champagne.  Randy has disappointed.  The team has disappointed.  Al Davis' on-staff jumpsuit designer is disappointed.  And the Raider Nation is back to the old Milwaukee's Best.

3) Vikings:  When you can't get it up on the football field, there's nothing like an orgy at sea to make you feel like a man.  It certainly is not my nature to denounce debauchery of this kind.  I mean who among us has not chartered a private cruise, paid big money to import a quarry of our finest ho's from Atlanta, got loaded, and performed sex acts in public?  All that is great if you work for Joe Blow's Roofing, or Harry Bumm's Plumbing.  Or even if you are a two bit writer for a fantasy web-site.  But when you are in a major sports league, and you are married, and especially if you are 1-3 as a team, you might want to watch your back.  I guess you could make the argument that Vikings are compelled by nature to go out to sea and conquer.  They were just blowing off some steam.  You could look at it like that.  But I view it as a further indication that his team is unfocused, uncommitted, lacking in discipline, and not too bright as a group.  If your team goes 1-15, you will still get paid.  But if you get a divorce you take a pay cut like you never dreamed.  This year and every year.  Maybe forever.  "Hi Honey, I'm home!" 

2) Cardinals:  Kurt Warner is ready to come and take back his starting job.  This could put Denny Green in an awkward spot.  The team has actually played better without Warner.(big shock)  Denny, I feel your pain.  Kurt will be dogging you this week.  Just do what I do when Mormons come to the door.  Grab a beer and fake an bad ear infection.

1) Texans:  Domanick Davis owners, sing with me now to the tune of an old slow field hymnal: Eight men in the box.  Nine men in the box. Ten men in the box.........