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Commentary From the Edge - Week 16
Kevin Ratterree
December 18, 2007

Scene 1

(Tony Romo’s luxury condo - he and Jessica Simpson are laying in bed breathing heavily, covered in sweat soaked sheets)

Jessica: Wow Tony, that was great!

Tony: Better than Nick Lachey?

Jessica: Mmm hmm, much better.

Tony: How about that Jackass guy? Was I better than him?

Jessica: Johnny Knoxville? He was a Vienna Sausage, and I’m more into corndogs.

Tony: Hey, you wanna come and watch me play tomorrow? I have a private luxury box for you.

Jessica: Oh Tony, I’ve got a private luxury box for you too, and I want to watch you play right now….

Tony: Cool. Could you take off the pink jersey this time?

(they kiss passionately while Tony reaches for the remote to stoke up Ton Loc’s “Wild Thing” yet again)

As men, we aren’t born with all the knowledge and good sense we will need to survive this game called life. The lessons come slow, and some lessons come hard. The sad fact is, as a group, we just aren’t that smart until long after our physical peak.

I remember early in my relationship with my wife. We went to a casino with another couple. The other couple went off to make a donation to the slot machines while I took my usual spot at the craps table, my girl by my side. Seven out. Line away. Seven out. Line away. I switched to don’t pass. Seven! My wife said she would go play some slots. She had seen enough.

Soon afterward the table turned. Every once in a while it happens at the craps table. Someone gets on a good roll. At this table a shooter was on about a 20 minute shoot.

Everybody was raking money at the table, me included. With all the excitement going on at the tables, my future wife decided to come back to pay me a visit to see how I was doing. The shooter sevened out on the next roll.

Now, I didn’t blame my wife for that misfortune, but I did make a mental note of the event.

Later in our relationship, that kind of a scene repeated itself. I am raking in money at the table, the wife shows up and it all goes away.

At this point in our relationship, my wife usually keeps her distance from the craps tables, or gauges my progress from afar.

I’m not a particularly superstitious person, but I am smart enough to identify trends. And I don’t question them once established.

I hope Tony Romo has that same kind of insight.

Just in case you forgot, it was in last season’s matchup with the Eagles that Romo first invited his girlfriend of the month Carrie Underwood to a Cowboys game. Romo’s performance in that one? 142 yds 1 TD 2 INT in a 23-7 loss.

Romo’s performance Sunday with Jessica in the house? 214 0 TD 3 INT in a 10-6 loss. The two worst starts of his career.

Just an eerie coincidence? I think not. Call it what you will. Take it for what it is worth. The numbers don’t lie. It’s called reality. The pink #9 jersey was just the over the top play that gave Romo virtually no hope of surviving.

When things are going really good, it is probably not a good time to be making drastic changes to your life.

Lots of players never sniff the Super Bowl. Lots of great players. Romo might want to realize that there will be lots of Jessica Simpsons in his lifetime if he chooses. He will have all the Jessica Simpson’s he wants. Even after he is too old to play football, the younger Jessica Simpsons will still be lining up for him. And with the advent of Viagara, it is possible that Romo could be experiencing Jessica Simpsons for the next 60 years or so.

How many chances will he have at the ring? Three? Two? One? Better grab that ring young man.

It just isn’t working Tony. It was ok for high school maybe, but it isn’t working for you here. Show off for your girlfriends on your own time. February through June comes to mind. Feel free to show them all of your game highlights on DVD during those months. But for the love of God please don’t bring them to watch you play. And if you do, could you please warn us all in advance? The last thing I need is gambling losses due to your tail chasing.

But Romo wasn’t the only problem in that Dallas meltdown. How about the play calling? You have to be kidding me with that. Marion Barber had 7 rushes. Julius Jones had 7. 15 runs and 36 passes in a game in which you never trailed by more than one score. Marion Barber could have won that game for the Cowboys, but the offensive coordinator wasn’t smart enough to figure that out, and Wade Phillips was too busy making sure everybody likes him to bring it up at any point. Pathetic.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, When McNabb scored the only touchdown of the game, he did his impersonation of Terrell Owens infamous outstretched arms “star” pose.

I don’t know how the TV announcers missed it, they didn’t comment on it. But Owens caught it. The camera showed him on sideline afterwards mumbling to himself. My HDTV and lip reading skills came in handy again, here is what I saw: “I can’t believe that bitch would do that to me…”

Believe it T. O. And get over it. I’m pretty sure that McNabb owed you that one. And a few more…

Romo, Barber and Owens were just the tip of the iceberg. There was plenty of fantasy misery to go around on semifinal weekend. Brady, Wayne, Gates, Addai, and Fitzgerald and Moss all had sub-par days just when their owners needed them most.

See, I told you not to draft Randy Moss.

The biggest play of the day was the instantly legendary Westbrook “mercy” slide. Merciful to those playing against him. Agonizing torture to those Westy owners that needed that six points. I must say it is rare for a player to make a decision like that. As it turns out, it was the right choice for the Eagles, since they ran the clock and didn’t let the Cowboys touch the ball again. But for fantasy players across the land that won or lost on that play, it was the stuff of fantasy football legend.

I for one think Westbrook proved that there are still a few guys in the league that care more about their team than themselves. And considering how he carried some fantasy teams to the playoffs with his steady production throughout the season, I’m pretty sure his owners shouldn’t feel cheated. Oh yeah, and he had a great game even without that last touchdown.

The NFL needs more players like Brian Westbrook. Without him, the Eagles would be picking in the first half hour of next year’s draft. And my team in the Huddle Writers league would have been horrific instead of merely bad. Westbrook is gold on your fantasy team, and platinum for the Eagles. Positively the most valuable player to his team in the league.

There were two quotes that were pretty funny on the pre-game shows Sunday. Mike Ditka uttered the words “Jets 17 Patriots 14.” That was a good one. The other quote I liked was when Howie Long held up a publicity photo of Terry Bradshaw and said, “That’s not airbrushed, that’s sandblasted.”

Crazy as Hell Pick of the Week:

I made no pick last week. That worked out pretty well. An avoided public humiliation and I ended up ahead for the week. A lot of you probably did too. Let’s try that again and see if a trend develops.

Misery Index

10) Bears: Kyle Orton became the 33rd quarterback change for the Bears in the last 137 games. His performance against the Vikings was every bit as nondescript as the cast of characters that preceded him. One wonders how long the Bears will continue this quarterback charade. With the defense apparently on the decline, and a nonexistent running game, the Bears might consider finally ponying up the bucks for a legitimate NFL caliber starting quarterback. They might consider it. They won’t do it. But they might consider it.

9) Rams: I remember how excited I was to get tickets to see Brett Favre in a playoff game against the Rams in 2002. I also remember how he threw 5 interceptions and had one of the worst games of his career. By the time he threw the 5th pick I was feeling pretty bad for him. I felt pity for Brett Favre. Last Sunday, the tables were turned. I felt pity for the Rams. The difference is, I knew Favre would bounce back. I can’t say the same for the Rams.

8 ) Raiders: He’s creepy and he’s spooky
His jumpsuit kind of kookie
His team is kind of pukey
The Raiders family
When people pay and see ‘em
At the dusty Coliseum
There’s lots of naseum
The Raiders family
da da da da (snap) Geeks…da da da da (snap) Freaks… da da da da, da da da da, da da da da (snap)…Defeats

7) Chiefs: Herm Edwards left one franchise in ruins, and is in the process of leveling another. And then has the audacity to tell the hometown unfaithful to “get over it.” “It happens.” No Herm. It doesn’t happen here. Well, not since the 1980’s anyway. But it’s nice to know those days are back, and Chiefs fans should get over it. Sorry Herm, we can’t get over it. We play to win the game.

6) Jets: The Jets avoided the legendary ass kicking they were due, thanks to the kind hand they were dealt by the weather. The bad news is that the divisions won’t be re-aligned any time soon, and the Jets can look forward to that legendary ass thumping the Pats still owe them at a date to be named later.

5) 49ers: I left the 49ers off the Misery Index last week and found out how passionate people are about the Misery Index. I had emails pleading to put the 49ers back in the Index where they belong. I’m all too happy to oblige. It seems part of the problem this season has been the fact that the head coach and the quarterback have all the communication of the average feuding hillbilly couple on Springer. But everybody kissed and make up in the press. The 49ers came out and beat a team that didn’t really want to be there. Hey, things are looking up. If you can ignore that juicy first round draft pick they are giving the Patriots next season. The 49ers: Making sure the poor get poorer and rich get richer.

4) Bengals: Okay let me get this straight. The Bengals high flying offensive unit with Carson Palmer, Housh, CJ, Henry, and the gang got racked up by the team that had scored the fewest points in the league up to that point. Carson Palmer was outscored by some guy named Shaun Hill. A third string quarterback on a last place team. 20-28. With all of that talent the Bengals have, they get tagged by one of the NFC’s ugly stepchildren. This game revealed character for the downtrodden 49ers and a lack of it for the Bungles. Of course, their lack of team character has been readily available for all to see in the police blotter.

3) Falcons: Wow, that was a hell of a week. Smashed up on Monday Night Football. The weasel head coach ducked out the back door, leaving a Dear John letter taped to the players lockers. And then the beat down against the Buccaneers. The Falcons season of futility reached a climax when they allowed an undrafted quarterback for the Bucs to run back a kickoff for a touchdown. That was a feat that the Buccaneers had not been able to accomplish in 1865 previous attempts. Yes, this Falcons team is special. Were it not for the Dolphins, this team could have…..well, there is no reason to even talk about it. What’s done is done. But the good news is that they finished dead last in the NFC South. According to recent history, that means the Falcons are a lock to be a playoff team next season.

2) Dolphins: The dream is dead. I could smell it coming a mile away. I guess I am happy for the Dolphins and their fans deep down. But right now I’m just too sick about it to say much. I will forgive the Dolphins for this one eventually. I will never forgive Billick, but I will forgive the Dolphins. I have had my heart broken before, but this one is going to really hurt for awhile. And I tell myself I will never give my heart to a team like I did the Dolphins ever again. But damn fool that I am, I know I will. Someday.

1) Ravens: Well, I don’t think it would be fair to give them the title just because they lost to the Dolphins. But losing to the Dolphins the way they did, racking up their 8th loss in a row, I definitely think they deserve the top spot this week. You knock the king off the throne, you get to sit on his crapper for awhile.

Oh where to begin. Lets begin at the end. The Ravens had let the lead slip away, but had the Dolphins on the ropes in the closing minutes. They drove the ball right down the field with big plays to get down the goal line. Finally with only seconds left in the game, and the ball at 4th and goal from 2 foot. Billick (the artist formerly known as Offensive Genius) decided to send in the field goal team to tie the score.

Coaching 101: There is an old axiom that applies in almost any sport. Go for the tie at home, and the win on the road. This isn’t rocket science. You are playing a winless team. You have their offense on their heels. They are a bunch of losers that know how to lose. All you have to do is help them. Line up quickly and quarterback sneak. It rarely fails. And even if it does? Big f’n deal. Your season is garbage anyway. What dignity do you have left? Do you want to go down whimpering like a puppy? Or do you want to go out barking like a dog?

Billick decided to go out meowing instead. A gutless cowardly decision. You don’t go for the tie when you are 4th and 1 on the road against a desperate team. You let us all down Billick. All of us that had been dreaming of the perfect season lo these many years. And to have our dreams crushed due almost entirely to your ineptitude is devastating. I am a broken man today Brian Billick. This was all I had left. I lost two semi-final games on Sunday, and had to endure the crescendo of the sickening Billick symphony. It was probably one of the worst days of my life. And you were a big part of it. I hope you are happy.

If you had a shred of decency, you would pack up your office, write everybody a nice note like Petrino did, and leave. Don’t make them fire your ass. Scrape up what little self respect you have left, walk out on your own terms, and find yourself a nice little down and out Juco somewhere that needs an assistant coach, and see how that goes for awhile.

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