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Commentary from the Edge - Week 6
Kevin Ratterree
October 7, 2008
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Six weeks ago we as a group were pretty sure of a few things. We were sure the Patriots were going to wreak havoc on the league. We were sure the Cowboys were the best team in the NFC. We were sure that the Chargers could beat the Dolphins, and the Packers could beat the Falcons at Lambeau.

Just take a look at how the fortunes of those franchises I just mentioned have done a 180. The Patriots have been reduced to getting their asses kicked at home by the Dolphins. The Cowboys barely escaped a similar fate against the Bengals. The Cowboys apparently not only aren’t the best team in the NFC, they aren’t even the best team in their own division. And they might not even be the second best team in their division.

That’s one tough division. No Kimbo Slice in that bunch.

The bad news for all involved is that the winner of the NFC East will be pretty well spent by playoff time. So none of it may even matter in the end. But getting there should be fun to watch. A lot more fun than that Kimbo Slice fight was anyway.

But two of the biggest surprises are not the fallen mighty, but the rising from the ashes. Dolphins and Falcons. Putting ass whoopings on the alleged powers of their conferences. Impressive.

Speaking of impressive, how about that Al Davis hatchet job last week? Now that was impressive on many fronts.

It is hard to imagine what it is like inside Al Davis’ head right now. Before the press conference I was convinced that Davis was using a drool cup and had a head full of cobwebs. Completely lost and incoherent. Just a step away from going Howard Hughes. I mean, how can you look at the recent history of the franchise and think otherwise? Garbage in. Garbage out.

It was clear from the press conference that Davis is still alert and in full function. The attack he leveled at Kiffin was classic Davis. The crazy jump suit. The 70s overhead projector he used to present his “evidence” showed Al is still class all the way.

But what got me most was the egomaniacal gall to think that anybody would buy that boat-load of rotten fish he was peddling. I particularly loved where he attempted to blame Kiffin for signing Javon Walker. Yeah Al. We all know how your head coaches push you around. Sons of bitches.

I’m surprised Al didn’t cook up a “recorded” telephone call with a Kiffin cursing tirade from the sideline (complete with crowd noise in the background) spliced in as a response to an Al Davis direct order.

Al Davis : Look, Lane, I talked to Javon Walker again, and he really says he just doesn’t want to play any more. I told him how much you wanted him on the team but I can’t get him to commit. I think we need to go a different direction here.

Kiffin: $#&#$!@%*&!!!

On the TV:

I saw a segment on Countdown previewing Monday Night Football where Kornheiser was wearing a cap. That was a good moment. I swear if I ever get scissor distance from him the strand is coming off.

Of the “new guys” on the football shows this year I would have to say Strahan has probably been the best. He has taken to the role almost immediately, a smooth transition from one career to another. He is opinionated and concise, tells it like it is, and doesn’t feel the need to dominate the set like some failures from the past have.

I don’t have to tell you what I think of Sapp. His “look at me, I’m cute” act grew tiresome to me long ago. Actually that was tiresome from the beginning. People that wink at me on TV make me nervous.

During the games:

I watched the 49ers called for a facemask against Matt Cassel. The funny part was that the guy doing the face masking was being face masked by an offensive lineman prior to grabbing the QBs facemask in turn. Pretty tricky angle to see one and not the other I would think. That was a third down sack I believe, in 49ers territory. At a critical point late in the game. Mike Carey was the referee for that game. He was also the referee for the Super Bowl when the Patriots played the Giants. Note to self. Do not place wagers in games where Mike Carey is the referee. It’s just not working.

Is it my imagination or is the league’s other most respected referee turning into a buffoon right before our eyes? Ed Hochuli already screwed the Chargers out of a victory this season, and the missed facemask call on Reggie Bush in the first half killed a potentially game tying drive when Bush dropped the ball after having his head spun around like the girl in the Exorcist.

A game changing call at a critical point in the game, coincidentally negatively impacting a team that 80% of the country was betting on. I’m not saying anything, I’m just thinking out loud here.

I was all for the rule change that took away the responsibility of the referee to determine whether a facemask should be a 5 or 15 yard penalty. Unfortunately it doesn’t really matter much if they can’t get the call right in the first place. I don’t pretend to know how difficult the job of an NFL ref is, but I would like to think that at least one official would have his eyes on the ball carrier, and should his head be turned completely around, that might just be a clue that a facemask has occurred. I’m just thinking out loud here.

Still though, Hochuli does have some impressive guns. Does excessive ‘roid use negatively affect ones eyesight at all? Once again, I’m just thinking out loud here.

Misery Index

10) Cubs: Truth be told, I really don’t give a rats rear what happens in baseball. But since I grew up a Cardinals fan I think it is only fitting that I take this moment to give a shout out to the most miserable sports fans in the universe. What can you say about a franchise that is so snake bit that they bring in a priest to bless the dugout before the playoffs? I’ll tell you what I say. I say they don’t have a real grasp of the magnitude of the situation. Blessing the dugout? You have to be kidding me. Do you people know what you are up against here? It’s going to take more than a blessing to get rid of the demons of disappointment that possess this team. Think exorcism.

9) Colts: It is scary to think just how close this team is to being 0-4. It took two second half collapses by the Vikings and then the Texans to make it happen. Unfortunately those were two of the easier games on their schedule. I hate to say it, but the Colts run might just be over. They had two weeks to work out the kinks and put it all together against the winless Texans and came out flat as that beer you opened and then put back in the fridge overnight. Unfortunately beer alone may not console what Colts fans will be going through this season. Think whisky.

8) Raiders: The good news here is that we found out the Raiders are not being run by a babbling idiot. The bad news is that it appears they are in fact being run by a coherent idiot. The worse news of all for Raiders fans was the fact that Davis made it a point to tell us all that his mother lived to be a hundred, letting us all know in his less than subtle way that the torture may only be just beginning. Think boycott.

7) Vikings/Saints: A lot of people around football thought that the Vikings might be a Super Bowl contender this season if only they had a better quarterback. And lots of people thought the Saints might be a Super Bowl contender if they could only find some defense. Well, both teams got what they had been looking for on Monday night, yet both still managed to look like garbage. It was really a shame either of these teams had to win. By the end I was rooting for a tie. Think “underachievers.”

6) Seahawks: I am having a hard time deciding which was the bigger ass-kicking this weekend. The one that pink haired boy put on Kimbo Slice or the one that the G-men put on the Seahawks. Tough call. Both fights were over in about the same amount of time. Unfortunately for the Seahawks there is no referee in football to step in and stop it so I’d say that is probably worse. Do you think Holmgren is wishing he had the decision to stick around to make over again? But too late now, he is stuck here for the duration. Or is he? Think - Fred Sanford style heart attack on the sidelines at your earliest convenience.

5) Chiefs: The Seahawks weren’t alone this week. The Chiefs put out a similar non-effort on the road. Larry Johnson pulled a huge “gotcha” to fantasy players who were drawn in by his domination over the Broncos “defense” the week before. Johnson piled it up on the Broncos and the Falcons to the tune of 52/319 but got shot down in flames by the stouter Panthers and Raiders with a combined 19/24. Yikes. It should be clear how to play this one from here on out. Think “situational starter” only.

4) Rams: It took a bye week to mercifully keep the Rams out of the loss column. Now they can go back to being the “bonus” bye on everyone else’s schedule. But what should Rams fans do if they want to see actual football? Think - road trip to Columbia.

3) Bengals: When you go toe to toe with the beast in Dallas, and almost come out on top, you have earned my respect. That and a couple of grand will pay your bail. Wait a minute, did I use that one before? Think - running out of ideas of how to describe how the Bengals suck after so many years in the Misery Index.

2) Texans: Had it not been for the sad officiating and Saints amazing choke job on Monday night, Rosenfels would have been this week’s biggest loser. As it was the biggest loser was the average viewer expecting to watch a football game Monday night. But I digress. In all seriousness, think about what Rosenfels potentially lost in the closing minutes. He was on the brink of taking down the Colts, possibly creating a quarterback controversy, possibly taking over as the starter, possibly turning around the franchise and leading them to an improbably playoff run, and possibly getting cut a huge check for his efforts. All shot to hell while foolish visions of John Elway danced in his head. I have some Sage advice. Next time? If there is a next time. Think- stop, drop, and roll.

1) Lions: I don’t know what to say. The Bengals are trying. The Rams had a bye. The Texans pissed one away. Right now you would love just to have one to piss away. If you can’t get it up for the Bears at home, there ain’t no little blue pill in the world big enough to raise the mast on these castrated kitties. Yes, the man that caused this disaster is gone but his aftermath will be felt for years. I don’t even know where this is going. I mean, the team is heartless and horrible. There is only one guy on the field that gives a damn whether they win or lose and they benched him in the middle of the game.

This is a team loaded with quitters. Much like a diaper loaded with nuggets, and they stink just as bad. If this team was a movie, it would be “Joe’s Apartment”, which I unwittingly paid to see 12 years ago with my wife and the step-son. Talking rats. One of the most colossal wastes of celluloid in the history of film. Sitting through it was sheer torture. I had never walked out on a movie before, but that was a true test of my love for my future wife. I stayed. I suffered. It was two of the most miserable hours of my life. Yet I would gladly relive the experience a hundred times if given the choice between that or sitting through an entire Lions game this year. Think…yeah, I’m already thinking about it. Why do I do this to myself. Oh, what the hell. The dream lives again. Think 0-16.

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