Thursday, December 30, 2004

Kyle Turley, nominee for Hater Nation Man of the Year

Kyle Turley must have echoed the sentiments of St. Louis fans everywhere when he allegedly threatened to kill coach Mike Martz.



Both parties deny the threat, but Martz did go to the NFL security council because once again his mouth wrote a check that his ass couldn't cash. It's about time somebody finally called out Martz, even if it was a death threat.

Allegedly.

Martz has become the Teflon don of NFL coaches, despite the fact that his team has underachievers in every season since he had arrived. And when things go wrong, he's always the first to point the finger at somebody else.

But Martz got himself into trouble recently when he insinuated that Turley was dogging his back injury, opting to take the money and run.

It's kind of ironic too, since Turley's inactivity this season can be linked to Martz rushing him back onto the practice field.

But Turley read Martz's statements, and Turley not being the kind of guy that will back down from confrontation, had a "heated" discussion with the coach. Both parties admit that Turley did get a little emotional. But what did Martz expect when he made those comments? Turley is an emotional guy.

It seems like this was a calculated move on Martz's part to rid St. Louis of Turley and his hefty salary. Martz might not be able to coach a football team, but he isn't stupid. Martz made the remark, knowing full well that Turley would react in an emotional way. Then Martz made a bogus claim with NFL security so the club could release the tackle without taking a hit on the salary cap.

When this came out into a case of "coach said/player said," Martz figured that most people would recall the incident pictured above and take his side.

But the Hater Nation will not be fooled. Martz goaded Turley into a confrontation and deserves all of the blame in this instance. And it's a good thing Turley didn't follow through on his alleged threat...

we need the material.

MARTZ GETS GAME BALL

The St. Louis players gave the game ball to Martz, following the team's victory on Monday night. It seems fitting to recognize Martz and his genius as the Eagles clearly surrendered Monday night's game by pulling the starters after the first series.

Or maybe they were scared by Martz and his game plan ability. Yeah, that's it.

ONE LAST CHANCE FOR THE MESSIAH

Eli Messiah will have plenty of time to watch the Chargers in the playoffs as he completes the string with the Giants. The season will mercifully come to a close for the Messiah who remains deluded about his performance this season.

"I think I'm getting better every week, and it's just a matter of putting everything together," Messiah said. He also went to say that he intends to throw the ball to players on his own team next season.

Here's a look at some numbers:

Ryan Leaf (1998) 111-245 (45.3 percent), 2 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 39.0 passer rating.

Eli Messiah (2004) 77-170 (45.3 percent), 3 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 48.1 passer rating.

It's kind of eerie to see both Leaf and Messiah have the same completion percentage and couldn't find the end zone.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

It's Christmas Time for the Hater Nation!

It's always tough trying to pick a favorite Christmas gift. You don't want to hurt anybody's feelings and besides, you really like everything. In the spirit of the holiday, the Hater Nation would like to share it's top three gifts of the week.

The Raiders lose

Having the Raiders lose on Christmas (or in this case Christmas Eve) is a lot like giving booze as a gift--it's always appreciated. This year's gift was especially sweet because the Raiders had taken the lead with just over a minute left, only to fall in spectacular fashion in the end.

Barret Robbins arrested

The former Raiders center came to mind last week when two members of the current club were arrested for not being drunk and disorderly when they refused to leave a stripper's... err... woman's car. Robbins, not to be outdone, was arrested at 7 a.m. Friday morning after he was told the bar that he was trying to enter was closed.

The man is not bipolar, he's a drunk.

Martz will coach St. Louis in 2005

St. Louis coach Mike Martz said he will never leave the ball club and owner Georgia Frontiere has sent a letter to players and staff that back up that claim.

Good thing, too, seeing that Martz has really picked up the slack around here since the Raiders have become one of the most fruitless teams in the NFL.

"I would never resign from this job," Martz said. "I love this job. I would never leave these guys. I wouldn't do that to this staff or these players. Like I've told you many times, I'm too connected to this group."

How does Chris Chandler feel about that connection? Martz continued to say that "There is no team I would rather coach than this team regardless of the record."

That's very big of Martz considering that most of the team's problems can be linked to the coach. But as long as Martz wants to continue losing and the St. Louis ownership is more concerned about the money it bilked from the city during its expansion a decade ago, St. Louis appears destined to be a loser for some time to come.

CHARGERS WINNING STREAK SNAPPED AT EIGHT

If you would have told Chargers fans this summer that they would lose to the Colts in December (as expected) but still win the AFC West, they would have taken it. But Sunday's loss at Indianapolis was a disappointment and that shows how far this team has come in just a few months.

Moral victories are now reserved for teams like the Raiders, and it would be a discredit to the Chargers franchise to put a positive spin on Sunday's loss. But there is no team in the AFC San Diego should fear playing.

A RECORD IS SET IN INDY!

A couple of records were set in Indianapolis on Sunday.

LaDainian Tomlinson set an NFL with a rushing touchdown in his thirteenth consecutive game. Antonio Gates set the NFL touchdown mark for tight ends with his thirteenth of the year.

There might have been another record broken in Indianapolis on Sunday, but the announcers didn't really spend a lot of time talking about it, so nobody really knows what it was.

NEWS AND NOTES AROUND THE NFL

The Seahawks defeat the Cardinals, 24-21, to wrap up a playoff berth. The Birds, and the Hater Nation's dream of a 7-9 division winner, must now wait for another year. But Dennis Green will never have a reasonable explanation for benching McCown. And this is a guy that could convince a secretary to have an abortion.

Carolina remains alive with a victory at Tampa Bay, 37-20. The sentimental favorite of the NFC. The Panthers are the team to beat right now. This team is going back to the Super Bowl.

And how far has Tampa Bay fallen? They have players bickering and more discontent than any team in the NFL. And think about their Super Bowl victory. Do they beat anybody other than Oakland, seeing that the Raiders did nothing to disguise their playbook and signal calls from their former coach? The Bucs Super Bowl victory looks less impressive with each loss.

Ben Roethlisberger is hurt during the Steelers victory on Sunday. Most people seem to forget that Tommy Maddox is the best quarterback in XFL history.

The Patriots destroy the over-hyped Jets, 27-3, on Sunday. The Hater Nation would like to apologize to Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots organization for over reacting to their loss on Monday night at Miami. New England is the class of the AFC. There is no discussion on this.

The Jets, and Chad Pennington, are a terrible fraud.

The Vikings can't beat the Packers at home to earn a playoff spot. Minnesota should back into the playoffs if the Eagles can knock off St. Louis today. But the Vikings should decline it's playoff invitation like a college team won't accept a bowl bid. Minnesota has no shot, even with a T.O.-less Eagles team in the mix. The Vikings have lost this season to the Eagles, Packers (twice), and Seahawks. They should give their spot to the Birds, who mercifully ended their season last a year ago.

What's interesting is that Mike Tice has an option for 2005 that must be exercised before next week's game at Washington. And that's the best his team could do for him? That's pretty telling.

Jake Plummer is near perfect in the Broncos victory to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Broncos are back in this thing. It will probably be just enough for this team to get eliminated in the first-round... again.

Eli Messiah is once again on the losing end at Cincinnati. Like father, like son. Maybe both can live vicarioulsy through Peyton. The only problem is somebody will probably have to tell all three what vicariously means.

Miami defeats Cleveland in the worst game in NFL history.
Which uniform was worse, the orange number from Monday night, or the all-aqua last night?

The Dolphins announced that they will hire Nick Saban as both coach/GM. That always seems to work out well. Just ask Butch Davis, Mike Holmgren, Mike Martz, et al. When are owners going to learn?

Dan no longer the man. Does anybody remember where they were when Dan Marino set the touchdown record in 1984? It's meaningless. If Marino weren't on television, it would not seem as big. It's tough to say, but Kurt Warner's 41 touchdowns seemed more impressive in 1999.

Some fantasy football seasons end tonight! Daunte Culpepper, Muhsin Muhammad, and Antonio Gates are an unbeatable combination in some leagues.

AND FINALLY

Cuban president Fidel Castro announced that his country has discovered a crude oil deposit off its shores that could contain 100 million barrels.

However, in an unrelated story, President Bush issued a statement that said that the United States fears that Cuba might now have weapons of mass destruction. That's weird.

Monday, December 20, 2004

BREAKING NEWS

Literally.

Eagles receiver Terrell Owens will miss the rest of the regular season and the playoffs with a sprained ankle and a broken bone in his leg. The star receiver will undergo surgery on Wednesday.

Now it looks like Donovan McNabb will not get a chance to break Danny White's record for NFC Championship Game futility--the club likely won't make it that far. The Eagles became just another run-of-the-mill NFC team without Owens.

Owens, ever the team player, said that he would continue to stick around with his teammates during its playoff run.

"I'm behind them. I told them that I would be their biggest cheerleader,' Owens said.



Lord knows he's had practice.

RAIDERS NEWS

There has been a long-running joke on the Hater Nation that the Raiders celebrate regular season wins like they just won the Super Bowl.

Two Raiders didn't realize that it was just a joke.

Cornerback Charles Woodson and Marques Anderson were arrested early Monday for investigation of public intoxication following the Raiders victory, according to Janie Pauley of the Associated Press.

The Oakland Police Department said that the players were arrested at 4:20 a.m. in downtown Oakland after refusing to leave the back seat of a woman's (read: stripper's) car. Both were jailed briefly, police spokesman Danielle Ashford said.

"Apparently what happened, an officer in our transportation section wsa flagged down by a woman who said that the men were in the back of her car and wouldn't get out," said Ashford. "They were very uncooperative. They had problems maintaining their balance, bloodshot water eyes and had a strong odor of alcohol. They were acting in a beligernet manner."

It's nice to see that Woodson and Anderson wanted to celebrate their "huge" victory in the one spot where they could interact with their fans--in jail.

And give the pair credit. At least they waited until after their Super Bowl to start partying, unlike Barret Robbins.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Can you believe it finally happened?

After weeks--months really--the unthinkable finally came true. Even the hardest of the hardcore fans started to think that it could never happen again. Many fans had hope in their hearts but the nagging doubt of past failures still nestled in the back of their minds.

But on one glorious Sunday, it finally happened. And now everybody can celebrate and remember where they were when...

the Raiders finally scored a first quarter touchdown.

In a year where the Boston Red Sox win the World Series, it only makes sense that the Raiders would finally punch one into the endzone before Pharaoh Raider's buzz dwindled.

Why, what did you think we were talking about?

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: 2004 AFC WEST CHAMPS



The Chargers had an honest-to-goodness chance to run the table this season. An 0-16 record could have been very possible. But there was one important thing that the team did to turn this franchise around.

Was it the hiring of Wade Phillips? Close. Phillips deserves a share of the credit. He isn't a good head coach, but as a defensive coordinator he will make any defense a winner.

Is it the brand new offensive line? Again, it's close. It's unprecedented for a team to overhaul and entire offensive line and have the success the Chargers have enjoyed this season.

The top reason?

The trading of Eli Messiah. If the Chargers are handing out playoff shares, Eli Messiah deserves to be at the top of the list. Put him down for two shares. Nobody has done more the change the image of the Chargers and put some karma in their favor than Eli Messiah and his meddling father, Archie.

The Chargers were the joke of the NFL last season as they finished 4-12 and had not reached the playoffs since 1995. Fans were offering to help move the team to Los Angeles. The franchise continued to make bad public relations decisions and it appeared that the Chargers were destined to mark another losing season.

But then the Messiah turned his back on San Diego and the Chargers went from laughing stock to sympathetic underdog on one April afternoon. Nonpartisan fans are likely just as tickled by the Chargers return to the playoffs and the Messiah saddled with an 0-5 record in New York.

Wow, Eli really is a miracle worker. The only problem is that he didn't mean to turn around the Chargers by not playing for them. Could you imagine where the Chargers would be if the Messiah had decided to play in San Diego?

Eli would have likely signed his contract early and the team would have put him in at starting quarterback. Then the Messiah, and his 46.0 passer rating, would be leading the club to another losing season.

Chargers fans should now be thanking Messiah for requesting the trade and lifting the black cloud off of the Chargers franchise.

CLEVELAND ROCKS

It's fitting that the Chargers clinched in Cleveland, where coach Marty Schottenheimer could never quite nudge the Browns into the Super Bowl. The cynics will point out that the ol' ball coach does a great job of getting his team to the playoffs, but can't win the big one.

But remember, in a year where the Raiders finally scored in the first quarter, anything is possible.

WHO IS THE TRUE GENIUS OF THE NFC WEST?

Have two teams done less to win a division than St. Louis and Seattle? As hard as it is to pick between Mike Holmgren and Mike Martz, the duo have nothing on Cardinals coach Dennis Green.

Do you know what an accomplishment it is to be the biggest coaching dope in this division?

The Birds would own the division right now if they hadn't benched starting quarterback Josh McCown or lost to San Francisco twice this season. That's right, the 49ers two wins this season have come against the Birds. That's like being the only guy in town not to score with the town floozie.

But the Birds, believe it or not, are still in contention to win the division as Sunday's game at Seattle could be the showdown for the division title. This must happen. The NFL deserves to have one division winner with a sub .500 record.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

.

"We didn't see this coming," St. Louis receiver Torry Holt said. "If there was one game on the schedule where we felt confident coming in and winning, it's Arizona."

When you play for St. Louis and Mike Martz, you should never disrespect any team.

And especially if you fumbled a sure-touchdown on the one-yard line (as pictured above).

MARTZ QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Martz on quarterback Chris Chandler:

"It's tragic for this football team, for that position to hold the whole football team hostage," Martz said. "But that's where we are."

Couldn't any of the players say that about the coach?

ST. LOUIS FANS

A St. Louis fan, on a road trip to Arizona, told us that he once rooted for the Cardinals, but was now happy that he had a quality owner like Georgia Frontiere. What's the over/under on that marriage today?

GOAT OF THE WEEK

.

How bad do you feel for that guy?

The good news is the Vikings still have a chance to finish out of the playoffs.

NEWS AND NOTES AROUND THE NFL

Philadelphia clinches home-field advantage with a 12-7 victory over the Cowboys, but loses Terrell Owens for the rest of the regular season. Donovan McNabb will break Danny White's record for consecutive NFC Championship Game loses if Owens is not healthy for the playoffs.

And seriously, does this surprise anybody with all of the bad karma that Owens has built up this season?

The Raiders celebrate like it's the Super Bowl after meaningless victory over Tennessee. No wonder the fans are deluded if the players keep this up.

Kansas City rips Denver, 45-17. Who has fallen farther, faster? The Broncos, Sammy Sosa, or Kobe Bryant? Denver went from division contender to out of the playoffs. If only if was the NFC West.

Colts to keep trio together as they prepare to franchise tag Edge. But to call this group the "Triplets" is a disservice to the real Triplets that actually won three Super Bowls.

Where the hell was the Hater Nation last week? Las Vegas. Look for that story in the mid-week edition.

The Panthers lose at Atlanta Still do not count out the Panthers. And how in the world did Mike Vick not put his knee down on that touchdown dive? How?

The Titans won its franchise best sixth game ever on Sunday, beating the Bears. Yeah, but Houston coach Dom Capers had the Panthers in the NFC Championship Game by the second season. Just saying is all.

AND FINALLY

Alright Chargers fans, it's time to get excited.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Tuesday Extra!

Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck shared a laugh on the sidelines Monday Night as his team clung--and you must use that term when speaking of Seattle--to a 10-point lead with two minutes remaining in the game. But it was the Cowboys that had the last laugh as they had an improbable comeback in the final minutes to beat the Seahawks, 43-39.

Hasselbeck should have known better.

The Seahawks took a 17-point lead deep into the fourth quarter against St. Louis earlier this season, only to see that lead disappear like the club's championship hopes. Remember when the Seahawks where the "chic" pick to win the NFC? The Seahawks were supposed to walk the yellow brick road out of the Emerald City and all the way to Jacksonville and the Super Bowl.

Now the Seahawks are tied in the worst division in the worst conference in the NFL. Seattle might end up winning the NFC West by default--remember the Seahawks are battling St. Louis for the division title--but they are a clear one-and-done in the playoffs.

"I felt pretty good when we were up by 10 with a couple of minutes to go," Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said. "Let's just say it: You should win those. We've lost two of those this year, and it might prevent us from getting into the playoffs."

Holmgren also has a clear shot at the Hater Nation genius of the year, edging ahead of St. Louis coach Mike Martz. And that's no easy feat. But it's been quite a week for resident geniuses named Mike in the NFL.

Martz called for a fake-field goal trailing big to Green Bay last Monday night. That's pretty dumb.

Denver coach Mike Shanahan from the pole position in the AFC West to outside of the playoffs in only two weeks after division-losses to the Raiders and Charger. That takes skill.

But Holmgren and his team clearly are the front-runners in this category.

The Hater Nation has grown to expect this from Martz, but what happened to Shanahan and Holmgren as both coaches have won Super Bowls in the past? Shanahan has not won a playoff game since 1998. Funny, that's the same year that John Elway retired. Holmgren hasn't managed the same kind of success in Seattle that he enjoyed in Green Bay. Maybe Brett Favre had something to do with that?

Both Shanahan and Holmgren have been intent on winning their way--with mediocre quarterbacks. Shanahan tabbed Jake Plummer as the successor to Elway in Denver, despite the fact that Plummer has never been able to capture the magic that made him a star at Arizona State. Holmgren turned to Hasselbeck, who can't match the charisma of his sister-in-law, Elisabeth Filarski.

It's hard to be a genius when you don't have the proper tools, and Shanahan and Holmgren have nobody to blame but their egos and self-inflated sense of worth.

QUICK THOUGHT

If it takes a good quarterback to win, what does it mean when you have a great quarterback and you lose? It means that you are Mike Sherman.

IN HONOR OF PETER KING, HERE ARE 8 THINGS I THINK I THINK

1. How many people thought it was a mistake for the Cowboys to pass on Stephen Jackson and draft Julius Jones? Maybe Jerry Jones is a genius afterall.

2. Peter King said in his Tuesday column that the Giants, if they continue to lose, might move into position to draft USC receiver Mike Williams. Good idea. Too bad the Chargers own that pick. Williams would give San Diego a pretty good receiving corp. of Williams, Antonio Gates, and Keenan McCardell. And don't forget, LaDainian Tomlinson is a pretty decent receiver, too.

3. Coffee sucks.

4. If the playoffs started today, two NFC teams with .500 records would make the plalyoffs, Seattle and St. Louis.

a. It's pretty clear that a St. Louis playoff berth would keep Martz employed, and the Hater Nation with material for another year. But can you count on Martz and company to win? St. Louis plays at Carolina this week and ends the season with home dates with Philadelphia and the NY Jets. Those are three games that St. Louis could easily loss.
b. How does Holmgren motivate his team in the next four weeks? If he can't keep their focus in the final minutes of two pivotal games, what chance does he have? It has gotten so bad, Jerry Rice is looking for another team to gravy-train into the playoffs.
c. Chris Chandler will be the starter for St. Louis this week. Chandler was the starter for Los Angeles--when the team was known as the Rams--in 1994. He got hurt in one of the worst game in Rams history, an 8-5 snoozer against Atlanta .The Hater Nation paid 10 bucks to get into that game.

5. Coaches have no business being general managers. Holmgren left Green Bay because he wanted to be both coach and general manager. Sometimes you should be careful of what you wish for.

6. Biola upset No. 3 Azusa Pacific in the GSAC men's opener for both teams last week. Biola could be a player in the NAIA's toughest basketball conference, but Concordia still looks too strong.
a. Sorry, the Hater Nation does not have any athletic daughters.

7. Dodgeball is released on DVD today. The Hater Nation only endorses Ben Stiller movies that involve Owen Wilson. And Meet the Fockers? Too late.
a. What ever happened to the fat guy that wrote Swingers?
b. Is Ben Stiller the Mike Sherman of Hollywood? Stiller parlayed one great movie, There's Something About Mary, into the head coaching role of an endless line of bad movies. Of course, the real star of Mary was Brett Favre, so there you go.
c. The Hater Nation does not want to hear which Ben Stiller movies you thought were great. They all sucked.

8. LaDainian Tomlison voiced his support for the return of Drew Brees for next season. The smart thing to do, still is, to bring back Brees for another season. But again, this is the Chargers.

AND FINALLY

Compared with their peers in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, U.S. 15-year-olds are below average when it comes to applying math skills to real-life tasks, new test scores show.

That means that some 15-year-olds think Seattle won last night.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Is it time to get excited yet?

The Chargers won a huge AFC West showdown with Denver on Sunday that clinched a winning season for the first time since Ryan Leaf almost single-handedly ruined the franchise. Is it finally time to get excited about this team?

.

Eh.

This is the Chargers. A team that thrives to get its fans hopes up, only to bring them crashing back down to Earth. The Chargers are like a wrestler that goes to the ring with a hidden object in his tights and then sucker punches you with brass knuckles when the referee isn't looking.

And ask Kansas City and Cleveland fans if you should get excited about a Marty Schottenheimer coached team.

SO MUCH FOR BRONCOS WEATHER

How bad have things become for the Broncos? The club has lost two consecutive games to California teams in what has been called "Bronco weather." The Raiders humiliated the Broncos last week in a come-from-behind victory. And it was the Chargers on Sunday which emerged from a rain-soaked Jack Murphy Stadium with a firm grasp on the AFC West. (But don't get too excited, yet.)

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has received a free pass in the Hater Nation for his mastery of the Raiders. But Shanahan isn't quite the genius he's perceived to be against the rest of the league.

The Broncos were in cruise control two weeks ago with an opportunity to put the AFC West away against Oakland and San Diego. A perfect 2-0 wasn't out of the question. Fans could have stomached a .500 record. But to drop two important AFC West games on consecutive weekends shows that this team does not have an ounce of heart. The Broncos are absolutely gutless.

The popular theory in the NFL is that the desperate teams always finds a way to win. The Broncos found ways to lose in the past two weeks. Jake Plummer threw four interceptions on Sunday, as Reuben Droughns made like Michael Blaine and disappeared. The team just imploded.

Hmm, sounds a lot like the old Chargers.

WADE IS NO BUM COACH

The Chargers defense save the team on a day when quarterback Drew Brees and tight end Antonio Gates have been mere mortals. The defense has played great all season and coordinator Wade Phillips--the man Shanahan replaced as head coach--is a big reason why.

Phillips is one of those "good coordinator/bad head coach" kind of guys that the NFL has. Guys like Buddy Ryan, Kevin Gilbride, and of course, Mike Martz. Look for St. Louis to take a run at Phillips when Martz is fired this offseason.

If Phillips has a good sense of humor, he's a shoe-in.

THE MESSIAH KEEPS GIVING

Eli Messiah has delivered three victories in three NFL starts, but just not for his own team--the Giants. How is that trade working out for the Messiah? If he's shown one thing this year, it's that he can't handle a blitz. If his name was Eli Jones, he would be on the bench right now.

The best part is that the San Diego improves its draft position with each Giants loss, as the club owns the Giants first selection thanks to the Messiah trade. Nice job Poppy Manning.

With this type of football acumen, it's hard to imagine why Archie didn't win in New Orleans.

RANDOM THOUGHT

Does anybody else get the feeling that Jake Plummer will be the first quarterback in NFL history to thrown an interception on an attempted spike? One day, Plummer will drop back to spike the ball only to have it deflect off a lineman's ankle and into the arms of a defender.

TAMPA BAY MAKES LIKE SHERMAN AND MARCHES THROUGH ATLANTA

The Falcons failed in their quest to wrap up the NFC South on Sunday. Again, Mike Vick continues to be the most explosive and aggravating player in the NFL. If there is anybody in the world that believes that the Falcons got the best of the Vick for Tomlinson trade, please step forward.

It's a wash at best, but the momentum has clearly swung to the Chargers favor this season.

EAGLES MOTIVATED BY THE HATER NATION

So much for the Packers being the top team in the NFC as the Eagles dominated on Sunday. But a couple of points to think about here.

The Packers were coming off a Monday night hangover, which is always tough to overcome. And the Eagles have now taken the crown from the Raiders for "Most NFL Championships won in December."

As long as Andy Schottenheimer is the coach and Donovan White is still the quarterback, there is no reason to fear the Eagles.

None.

STRANGE PLAY

In the final seconds of the Broncos game, receiver Darius Watts caught a ball on what turned out to be the final play as he ran upfield instead of heading for the sideline.

Watts was in the precarious position of needing a first-down and to get out of bounds... he did neither.

NEWS AND NOTES AROUND THE NFL

Colts score anther 40 points to win fifth consecutive game.
Seriously, Tony Dungy is gambling on these games. There is no other explanation. But remember, the NFL will let the Colts have their fun during the regular season. But when teams are allowed to mug the Indianapolis receivers during the playoffs, this will all be for not.

Shayne Graham kicks game-winning field goal for Bengals. Raven would probably be the best team in the NFC. They won't make the playoffs.

Chad Hutchinson leads the Bears to shocking victory over the Vikings. Alright, maybe this guy can play. But you have to do it against a better defense than Minnesota to really prove it.

David Boston is suspended for steroid use. You mean that's not all natural? Barry Bonds says its natural to gain 30 pounds of muscle in one offseason.

Brett Favre's 37-game touchdown streak comes to an end. It's a shame that Michael Strahan doesn't play for Philadelphia... he owes him one.

St. Louis enjoys its bye week. Oops, St. Louis played San Francisco. Same difference.

AND FINALLY

The producers of a reality porn show that has taken Europe by storm are in talks with U.S. broadcasters to air the program on the other side of the Atlantic, financial news weekly Barron's reported on Sunday.

Produced by Spain's Private Media Group Inc., the "Private Stars" show gives five "real world" men a shot at a contract with the company -- the winner being the one who performs best on television with one of Private's top female stars, the weekly reported.


Hopefully ABC won't broadcast the show before Monday Night Football. But if America is outraged by a harmless skit, what chance does this show have of making it to our shores?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Wednesday Evening Post

Monday night's game with between St. Louis and the Packers was good fun for the Hater Nation. Mike Martz was exposed on a national stage. Ryan Longwell earned enough points to force a tie in a fantasy league. It was a good night.

But all is not well in the Hater Nation.

St. Louis fans are now calling for the firing of Martz. This is something that cannot happen. Who else but Martz would call for a fake-field goal with his team trailing by three scores? Only a genius with the offensive talents of Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, and Marshall Faulk would put the game--and possibly the season--in the hands of kicker Jeff Wilkins.

What other coach would do that? No other coach would try to match wits with Mike Sherman and lose.

Sure, Martz is a genius if Wilkins makes that play. But Wilkins didn't and Martz isn't. But it's this kind of thing that could cost Martz his job. And it's exactly the reason why the Hater Nation needs Martz to stay on the job.

Martz and St. Louis are a match made in heaven. Martz is like Col. Jessup in A Few Good Men. We need Martz on that sideline. We want Martz on that sideline. With Martz, St. Louis is guaranteed many years of mediocrity. St. Louis is guaranteed many seasons of underachieving, with teams that are ill-prepared and unable win on the road.

The Hater Nation needs Martz.

But maybe we are giving St. Louis too much credit there. The team is still run by John Shaw and company. This is the same organization that hired Rich Brooks. The same organization that ran Dick Vermeil out of town after a Super Bowl victory to elevate Martz to head coach. There is good reason to believe that if Martz is fired, St. Louis will hire another coach to continue it's losing tradition.

There is a stark similarity to the fall of St. Louis and the fall of the Cowboys. Dallas ran Jimmy Johnson out of town after two Super Bowl wins. And it has yet to recover.

But it's too big of a risk to take. The Hater Nation has a sure thing with Martz, why would we spoil that?

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THE NFC?

The NFC is much like the AFC during the 1980s and early 1990s. There are no good teams. The San Diego Chargers would run away with this conference. But instead the NFC will serve up a sacrificial lamb in the Super Bowl.

Who is the leading candidate to win the NFC? The Hater Nation breaks down the conference.

Philadelphia The Eagles are losers of three consecutive NFC Championship Games. So they brought in Terrell Owens and his fist full of championship rings. They should have brought in a running game. The Eagles have no chance.

Atlanta The Falcons have quietly amassed one of the best records in the conference. But they are one Mike Vick injury away from being the Cowboys.

Green Bay Is it any surprise that the Packers have become one of the best NFC teams when it promoted Brett Favre to head coach and demoted Sherman down to offensive coordinator. The Packers running game makes it the favorite.

Minnesota Nice defense Vikings. No chance.

New York The Giants were 5-4 when they benched Kurt Warner in favor of Eli Messiah. They might not win another game this season.

St. Louis. Chuckle.

Seattle The Seahawks where the chic team to pick in the NFC this season. The kind of team that NFL pundits fall in love with. But if there's one coach that makes Martz look like a genius, it's Mike Holmgren.

Holmgren fancied himself a general manager during his tenure in Green Bay. The Packers were wise to resist. Instead of fielding a competitive team with Favre for a decade, Holmgren wanted to prove to the world how smart he was. Holmgren sure did. But not to the results that he expected.

There are a host of teams that at 4-7 including Carolina, Detroit, Dallas, and Arizona. The Lions could make a run if Kevin Jones ever gets it together. The Cowboys defense is a mess. The Cardinals are the Cardinals. They have promoted it’s third-string quarterback this week. Good bye.

The wild card is the Panthers. John Fox has done a better job of coaching this injury-plagued team than his NFC Championship Team.

AND FINALLY

One fans asked, "If St. Louis and the Raiders played, who would you root for?"

We turned to our reader, "The Nuge," for his answer.

"If the Rams play the Raiders, you cheer for the Blimp to crash into the stadium, enveloping the players, coaches, and fans in a horrific fireball. You also hope that Georgia Frontandrearie dies last, her lungs filling with puss as her withered, charred hand attempts to pull a quarter from the pocket of the lifeless body of the season ticket-holder next to her."

Ouch.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Rooting for the Devil?

Who do you root for when first place is on the line? That's the dilemma that Chargers face on Sunday night when the Broncos and Raiders squared off. Do you do the obvious and root against the Raiders at all cost? Or do you root for the Raiders, as an Oakland victory would give the Chargers sole possession of first place?

You are not a member of the Hater Nation if you debated the question for a second. There is no reason to ever pull for the Raiders. The only time it would be debatable would be if the Raiders lined up against Al Qaeda.

Just kidding.

Al Qaeda would still be the team to root for.

CHARGERS BREES INTO FIRST PLACE

It's getting to the point where it's foolish to even imagine that Drew Brees will be allowed to walk away from the Chargers at the end of this season. Brees was near perfect again on Sunday as he passed for 378 yards and 2 touchdowns. Even the cement-headed Chargers front office must recognize how valuable Brees is to the team.

Brees carried the team on Sunday after a good, but not dominant, performance from LaDainian Tomlinson. If the Chargers reach the playoffs (and yes, it's still too soon to get excited about the postseason), Brees is going to be a big reason why.

Maybe that and Dante Hall's inability to hold onto the football.

INSULT TO INJURY

Even fantasy football isn't a compelling reason to root for the Raiders. But how degrading is it when the Raiders win a game, and also allow Reuben Droughns (on your opponents team) to rush for more than 100 yards and a touchdown?

Typical Raiders. Thanks for nothing.

ROUGH DAY FOR ELI MESSIAH

The Manning-loving press will likely praise Eli's 6 for 21 with 2 interception performance on Sunday. A lot of critics liked to point out this week that guys such as Troy Aikman and John Elway struggled in their rookie seasons.

Yeah, Ryan Leaf, Tim Cough, Jeff George, and Cade McNown also struggled in their rookie seasons, too.

OWENS UPDATE

Terrell Owens, as shown on the FOX broadcast on Sunday, likes to prance around the field before the game in skin-tight catsuit.

If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly...

NEWS AND NOTES AROUND THE NFL

TWO CARDINALS QUARTERBACKS COMBINE FOR THREE INTERCEPTIONS IN LOSS TO JETS The Cardinals could have drafted Rivers or Roethlisberger, and could have signed Kurt Warner, too. Dennis Green is so distraught, he might knock up another secretary.

THE BEARS ARE EXPECTED TO SIGN 36-YEAR OLD QUARTERBACK JEFF GEORGE ON MONDAY. That's good news for Eli Messiah. No matter how poorly he plays in the next 12 years, he can still expect to find a job.

AND FINALLY

The Raiders and Broncos battled in the snow on Sunday Night. Here in the home office in Sunset Beach, the temperature dipped below 50 degrees last night. So we know exactly how those fans felt at the game.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Friday Morning News

Timing is everything for the NFL. In a week that saw an NBA riot in Detroit, the NFL announced that it was going to allow certain teams to have four on-field seats added to its stadiums. This is exactly what the NFL--and sports in general--needs, more fans with a clearer shot to professional athletes.

Unfortunately, Detroit was not one of those teams that will be conducting the study.

The experiment will start this week in Minnesota, and will include Chicago, and Miami. The teams will pick who gets to use the seats, meaning that corporate fat-cats that are willing to fork over $10,000 will get a chance to watch the game from the field.

Why stop there? Here are some ways these four "cash-strapped" teams can make some extra money in addition to on-field seats.

A mere $5,000 in Minnesota will allow a fan to get squirted in the face by Vikings receiver Randy Moss.

If you pay $10,000 in Chicago, you will get one series as the team's quarterback. Hey, it can't be any worse than what the Bears put on the field on Thursday.

For $25,000 in Miami, each fan sitting on the field will get a free exam from holistic medical student, Ricky Williams.

IS THERE A WILLIAMS COMEBACK IN THE WORKS?

Don't be fooled by recent reports, Ricky Williams does not want to come back to the NFL. Williams just doesn't want to pay the Dolphins $8 million he owes to the club. Williams is completing the paperwork in order to avoid a lawsuit over his outstanding balance.

This puts the Dolphins in the position of either welcoming back the enigmatic running back, or cutting him loose. Williams, and his lawyers, are betting that the Dolphins do not want him back and will forfeit its share of Ricky's gold.

And if Williams is welcomed back to the Dolphins, there is this business of an NFL suspension that will likely mean that he won't see the field in 2004.

DROUGHNS V. SAPP, II

Reuben Droughns told Warren Sapp that he was washed up in the Broncos 30-3 victory earlier this season, a point that did not sit well with the giant underachiever.

Why not? Sapp is one of the biggest free-agent busts of the year with only a half sack this season. Sapp is clearly one of the biggest "Fonzie" players in the NFL. Sapp has a reputation of talking big, but never seems to back it up on the field. It's much like Fonzie, who had a reputation of being a tough guy, yet you never saw him throw a punch during the series, Happy Days. Even when Richie Cunningham contracted mono from one of Fonzie's squeezes, the leather-clad tough guy wouldn't even strike the freckled-faced Freshman. It was Potsie who slammed Cunningham with the bathroom door.

Is there any way to fit Sapp with a leather jacket, #99? There's a good costume for one of those moronic Raider nation followers.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Why does anybody stoop to doing a "Turkey of the Week/Year/Decade/Millennium Award?" It's more tired thank John Madden's "Turducken" which thankfully died when he went to Monday Night Football.

Seriously, we get it. It's a play on the Thanksgiving Day tradition... zzzzzzzzzzz.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, ST. LOUIS

Think it's bad working on Thanksgiving? Mike Martz decided to have his team report for work on the holiday, despite the fact that it has an extra day to prepare with a Monday night game this week.

Yeah, that extra practice time should do the trick. It gives Martz more time to work on his excuses.

Martz called out the Bills this week for a couple of "cheap shots" on its defensive backs in St. Louis' 30-17 loss. St. Louis has a reputation of shying away from physical contact, and these comments don't help. Even Jm J. Bullock took time out this week to tell Martz and St. Louis to "butch up" a little bit.

Martz also was miffed that St. Louis had to conduct its post-game security check at Buffalo-Niagara Airport, instead of at the field--a service that most teams provide. After the way St. Louis performed on the field, they should be happy that they were allowed back in St. Louis at all.

THANKSGIVING FOOTBALL

The lack of quality football almost made the Hater Nation long for the return for the NHL. Ah, not really.

Does anybody else get the feeling that Tony Dungy has Peyton Manning on his fantasy team as he continued to call for passes in the Colts route of the Lions? Dungy has become like a geeky-Madden 2005 gamer that is concerned mostly with stats than winning football games.

Go ahead, Peyton Manning. Throw your 60 touchdowns and set a meaningless-record. It will be something to cherish when you are sent home during the playoffs by the Steelers or Patriots.

And did anybody catch those videos of a 3-year-old Manning during the game? It seems like his disposition hasn't changed much as he was crying when his older brother, Cooper, roughed him up.

Fans of NFL-contraction received a huge boost by the Cowboys and Bears game. Two NFL teams, zero NFL quarterbacks.

The fans in Dallas were upset when rookie Drew Henson was pulled for Vinny Testaverde. But Parcells actually did the right thing. The Cowboys, with four ones, are in the thick of the playoff hunt in the NFC. Look at the standings. Even Detroit has a chance of making the field.

Can't the NFL adopt it's World War II policy and combine two teams to make one mediocre franchise? If you combined the Bears and Cowboys, they might make the playoffs in the AFC... barely.

AND FINALLY

How do the Chargers celebrate their winning this season? By raising ticket prices, of course. The Chargers have only sold out on game during the NFL-required 72-hour deadline (they were given an extension for the Raiders game).

Typical Chargers, one step forward, three steps back. This should endear the fans as they push for a new stadium in 2006.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Who saw that coming?

The NFL prides itself on its unpredictability. One constant that remains is Mike Martz and his inability to have St. Louis focused week after week.

Martz was praised around the NFL last week when St. Louis responded to the coach's criticism to beat Seattle. Many thought the Rams had finally turned the corner.

Readers of the Hater Nation (both of them) knew differently.

But just before you think, "Maybe he's not that dumb," wait until St. Louis folds at Buffalo this week.

So it comes as no surprise that St. Louis was blown out at Buffalo. St. Louis typically does not respond well outside of the confines of the Eddie James Dome, and it was confirmed in its opening drive.

St. Louis opened the game with a time out followed by procedure penalties on Tom Nutten and Isaac Bruce. and St. Louis once again stalled in a promising drive when Martz called for a pass to the end zone on third-and-two at the Buffalo 22. The club settled for a field goal, just as it accepts mediocrity from week-to-week.

St. Louis was especially brutal on special teams, but that has become a tradition in the Gateway City. The club scape goated special teams coach Bobby April at the end of last season.

April went on to land a job with--you guessed it--the Buffalo Bills.

The only disappointing part of the game was Martz's post-game comedy routine, cleverly disguised as a press conference.

"We were pitiful," Martz said. "I really don't know what to do at this point. ... It's going to be hard to win another game until we get that cleared up. That's the worst thing I've ever seen."

Martz must have missed Terrell Owens' opening skit on Monday night.

But where was the condensation on Martz's part? The fans have grown accustomed to his musings and this was the best he could muster? No chips on the table? Nothing?

It seems that Martz comedy act was as flat as his team.

THE GREATNESS OF THE RAIDERS

What does it say when a Chargers win over the Raiders falls to second-billing at the Hater Nation? A site devoted in its hatred of all things Raiders.

But there's something missing with these Raiders. Bragging about a win over the Raiders would be like Carl Lewis bragging about a win in the Special Olympics. The Raiders have become just another non-discript, faceless franchise in the NFL.

Even with fans such as SombreroRaider, Migrant Farm Worker Raider, and the bunch, this win wasn't that much fun.

Maybe it's because the Raiders are--to borrow a phrase from Bill Parcells--one of the dumbest teams in NFL history. Announcers like to point out that the Raiders always won despite being the most penalized teams in the NFL. But what they fail to recognize is that the Raiders of the past were flagged for penalties such as necessary roughness and roughing the passer.

That was the Raider mystique.

Now the Raiders are called for defensive holding, false starts, and other infractions that kill their drives or keep their opponents moving. You can't win a football game like that.

It's a disgrace to compare the two.

IS IT TIME TO GET EXCITED YET?

It's tempting to dive into Chargers eurphoria, but there's still a little bit of nagging doubt with San Diego. Two games against the Broncos and Chiefs still loom on the horizon. The popular phrase seems to be "cautiously optomistic" at this point. Most Chargers fans seem apprehensive to get too excited, thinking that moment that they do, the famous Chargers slide will begin.

Too bad they don't play the Raiders every week.

WHERE IS CHILD SERVICES?

Why are parents allowed to dress their children in face paint and spiked shoulder pads at a Raiders game? America doesn't need a bunch of 10-year old thugs learning to make shivs out of their Swiss Army knives. They probably already know how to hotwire a car.

America can complain about Terrell Owens and a 40-year old botox bimbo, but this is really something the NFL should appologize for.

ELI MESSIAH HAS ARRIVED IN NEW YORK

The media can't seem to stop raving about Eli Manning's peformance on Sunday. Manning completed 17 of 37 passes for 162 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Prepare his bust for Canton today.

Nice work Manning. Did everybody forget that Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger has not lost a game yet? Maybe if Roethlisberger would have thrown a temper tantrum before the draft he could get as much recognition for winning, as Eli Manning did for losing his first start.

They said that the Giants got a glimpse of the future. Did they? Manning showed nothing in his first start as a pro. Other than he's no Peyton. The eldest Manning brother completed more than 50 percent of his passes and tossed for 302 yards and one touchdown.

Eli's first start compared more with Ryan Leaf's first NFL start.

WELCOME TO THE NFL

The headlines have not been as forgiving for rookie Drew Henson who made his NFL debut with a fumble on his first play. Now might not be the time to point out to the Cowboys that maybe they should be looking for quarterbacks instead of failed minor league baseball players.

It was worth a one-time risk to go after a converted baseball player like Quincy Carter. But then they brought in Chad Hutchinson. Now it's Henson. It's hard enough to play quarterback when it is all that you do. But these guys have taken time away from the sport and it's hard to capture the promise that they once had.


NEWS AND NOTES AROUND THE NFL


Peyton Manning inches closer to Dan Marino's single-season touchdown record with four on Sunday. Manning, like Marino, will likely retire from the NFL without a Super Bowl ring. Manning was a loser in college, and he's a loser in the pros. The window of opportunity is closing in Indianapolis.

Dolphins lose first game of the post-Wanstedt era. It's like he never left.

Nate Goings scored two touchdowns in Carolina's victory over Arizona. Now fantasy owners are scrambling to add Goings to their team. Here's a news flash, the Panthers don't play the Cardinals every week.

And how bad of a quarterback do you have to be if you are replaced by Shaun King?

Joe Jurevicius has two touchdowns after a publicized blowup with coach Jon Gruden. Why don't receivers get along with Gruden? He's supposed to be an offensive coach. But credit Jurevicius for actually stepping up instead of pouting like another former Buccaneers receiver.

Jake Plummer has thrown a career-high 21 touchdown passes this season. Keep making your jokes as the Broncos fly under the radar.

Daunte Culpepper tossed two touchdowns in the Vikings win. If you didn't start him for a second consecutive week, don't blame the Hater Nation.

AND FINALLY

The NBA has become unwatchable over the past couple of years. The league that has given you Dennis Rodman and Therapist (oops, The Rapist) Kobe Bryant, sunk to a new low with a brawl in Detroit on Saturday night.

Basketball hasn't seen a brawl like that since Salami decked that guy from Central High on The White Shadow years ago.

The NFL should spend it's PR hours this week pointing out that Terrell Owens hasn't climbed into the stands to deck a fan. At least not yet.

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Friday Morning News

The NFL has announced that it was disappointed with Terrell Owens and ABC for a "steamy" Monday Night Football introduction that featured the Eagles wide receiver and Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan.

NFL spokesman Greg Rove, er, Aiello said that the fans lost because of the ABC's indiscretion.

No, the NFL fans lost because they were forced to watch the Cowboys defense. The NFL fans lost because Marcellus Wiley and the rest of the defense have joined the witness relocation program. The NFL should be apologizing for putting that game on the Monday Night schedule.

According to Jim is more risque than that promo.

And dare the NFL hold any indignation? Would the NFL have signed off if Owens had announced that he had just popped a couple of Levita--the NFL's official picker upper?

Mike Ditka can talk about errectile disfunction on Sunday afternoon, but this was over the line. A pair of twins can bounce around with Kid Rock on Sunday afternoon, but this was in poor taste.

But hypocrisy and the NFL seem to go hand-in-hand. Otherwise why would the NFL allow the Eagles cheerleaders to advertise a lingerie calendar on the NFL's website?

Hey Aielo, who loses there?

If you are going to be indecent, you had damn sure had better be lining the league's pockets.

AND THE EMMY AWARD GOES TO

Kudos to Owens for being able to feign interest in a women for at least 10 seconds. Owens told entertainment news guru Pat O'Brien that it took eight takes for him to finally act like he was attracted to women.

If it was a naked Dennis Franz or James Belushi, Owens would have nailed that on the first take.

FINALLY THE RACE CARD

It took until Wednesday until somebody--Colts coach Tony Dungy--finally dropped the race card about a black man being seduced by a blonde woman.

"I think it's stereotypical in looking at the players, and on the heels of the Kobe Bryant incident I think it's very insensitive. I don't think that they would have had Bill Parcells or Andy Reid or one of the owners involved with that."

A couple of things here.

Sheridan was a willing participant. That's a big difference right there. Maybe if Owens had bent her over the chair and asked if he could "do his thing" (read the Smoking Gun), then it might work.

But this clearly wasn't a black/white issue and to compare it to the Kobe Bryant rape is wrong. Even the Hater Nation won't go that far against Owens.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Martz, The Smartest Man Alive!

Mike Martz might not be a good football coach, but he does have a pretty good stand up act to fall back on when his NFL career is over. Martz called out his team this week and said that he wasn't "going to take a bullet" for their underachievering.

But that was only the beginning.

Martz, when asked if his players were going to have a problem with his comments, launched into one of the best "bits" in NFL history.

"No. Nobody is going to say anything to me," Martz said. "We don't hold hands, get in a seance and (sing) 'Kumbaya, my Lord.' I'm not into that."

Wow. That's not bad. But Martz will always be the Carrot Top to Jim Fassel's Jerry Seinfeld.

When Fassel "put his chips on the table" a couple of years ago, a legend was born. The Fassel mid-season melt down and subsequent chips on the table became a yearly tradition in the mold of the Thanksgiving Day game. The phrase never gets old. And you can count on one player in your fantasy football league dropping a "chips on the table" reference every season.

Martz has not reached that level yet.

But you have to give credit to Martz (which pains the Hater Nation) as he did two things right this week. First, he didn't guarantee a victory. That has become as contrived as rappers in throw back jerseys (more on that later) or trucker hats. Fassel can get away with a guarantee as he is a legend. Martz is one the cusp but he is not quite there yet.

Martz also made a wise calculation by having his well-conceived blow up before St. Louis played host to the Seahawks and Mike Holmgren, who always finds a way to blow a big game. Any coach that plays host to a Holmgren team indoors is bound to look like Paul Brown.

So Martz picked a game he was sure to win; had his temper tantrum; and now the St. Louis and national media will praise him for it.

But just before you think, "maybe he's not that dumb" wait until St. Louis folds at Buffalo this week.

MARTZ GETS SMART

These two things might not be related, but is there any coincidence that St. Louis won as Marshall Faulk rushed for a season-high 139-yards? The response to Martz's tirade will generate the headlines, but St. Louis ran the ball and it ended up winning.

This game isn't as hard as Martz, Holmgren, and the other geniuses make it out to be.

ONE COACH WHO ISN'T

Paul Hackett, who must be tortured by the success that Pete Carrol is having at USC, isn't having a much easier time as offensive coordinator of the New York Jets. The New York media has figured out that Hackett is about as exciting as a new season of the Simple Life, and they have blasted him for it.

So how does Hackett respond?

With the Jets leading by 14 points, and about to punch the ball into the end zone, Hackett calls for a halfback option. And it gets intercepted and leads to the Ravens 20-17 overtime victory. Quincy freaking Carter was a perfect seven-for-seven before that play. But Hackett had to show the world how smart he is.

Anybody notice a theme here?

It's like that line from White Men Can't Jump, "You'd rather look pretty and lose, than look ugly and win."

Hackett should remember that when he's unemployed next season.

FANTASY ADVICE

The Hater Nation is not in the business of handing out free fantasy advice. (Look for a sister site next year.) But if you have Daunte Culpepper on your team--start him. Culpepper and his 42 points will not do you any good sitting on your bench.

Don't ask how this information was obtained.

WHERE IS OLIVER STONE?

Atlanta's Chris Draft said returned a fumble for a touchdown, but the play was nullified by a coach's challenge that gave the ball back to Tampa Bay. Draft was livid after the game, despite the Falcons huge victory.

"It's a conspiracy," Draft said. "They saw me working hard, and they didn't want to give me that thing."

Most fans then asked, "Who the hell is Chris Draft?"

Yeah, the NFL conspired to keep Draft out of the end zone. Like anybody in the league office would set its sights on a nondescript linebacker from on of its non-marquee franchises.

Stupid Draft.

Doesn't he realize that the NFL only screws the Raiders, not some marginal linebacker from the Falcons? The NFL spends far too much of its time and resources to ensure that the Raiders don't win a Super Bowl. That's why the Raiders have only won four games this year. If Draft doesn't believe us, he can ask any Raiders fan.

Bill Parcells though he had some of the "stupidest" players in the NFL.

AROUND THE NFL

The Packers hang on to beat Minnesota, 34-31. Mike Sherman had better start working on his comedy material if this keeps up.

The Chargers are considering using the franchise tag on Drew Brees. This move is only surprising because it seems like the right thing to do. What happen to the Chargers we all knew and loved?

Browns running back Willie Green and Steelers linebaker Joey Porter are ejected because of a pre-game brawl. It turns out that Porter, a Kerry backer, was upset that Ohio gave the election to George W. Bush.

And it's nice to see an actual rivalry in the NFL. The league has gotten too lovey-dovey for the Hater Nation's taste. It's time the fist-fights shouldn't be limited to the Raiders fans.

The Raiders have a flawless week. How do the Raiders go a full week without embarrassing themselves? They take the week off.

The Bears win again! Quarterback Craig Krensel seen wearing a headband that said "Tagliabue."

Moments after the Saints beat Kansas City, Joe Horn said, "To those that said good-bye to us, we ain't' done yet. The Saints play host to Denver this week and at Atlanta next week. They trail the division-leading Falcons by three games.

Bye, bye.

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning tossed five touchdown passes in a 49-14 victory over the Texans. Make up your own Tee Martin joke here.

The Radskins fall again, 17-10, to the Bengals. Chris Cooley is no John Riggins and this isn't 1982. Should have stuck to NASCAR, Joe. Maybe Tommy Lee Jones could star as Gibbs in a new movie, Space Redskins.

What's next for Dan Snyder? Will he exhume the body of George Allen?

The 49ers squandered a 17-point lead and lose to the Panthers, 37-27. And they chased Steve Mariucci away for this? Bill Walsh sure isn't that smart when Joe Montana isn't around. And too bad there isn't a franchise out there to donate a player of Steve Young's caliber to save them.

AND FINALLY

A Jack Youngblood jersey at Sports Treasures in the Westminster Mall will run you well over $100. Why?

Because rappers decided that throwback gear was the new fashion trend of the millennium. A fan can't buy a Vince Ferragamo jersey without missing a rent payment because guys like Old Dirty Bastard (RIP) and the rest of his buddies thought it would be cool to wear one. And how many of them even know the history of the player they are wearing?

Does Coolio wake up in a cold sweat thinking about the interception Ferragamo threw to Jack Lambert? Probably not.

In any event, here is a list of what would be the coolest throwback jerseys that nobody has.

Green Bay #14 -- Don Huston's old jersey. Yeah, who didn't see that coming?

Cleveland #76 -- Before there was Jim Brown, Marion Motley was punishing defenders for the Browns.

Philadelphia # 60 -- Chuck Bednarik. Just for fun, you could wear it to a Kathie Lee Gifford concert.

Chicago #14 -- Willie Thrower, the first black quarterback in the modern era.

LA Rams #39 & #13 -- Woody Strode and Kenny Washington, the first black players in the modern NFL. They both played for the Rams a year before Jackie Robinson crossed the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Question of the Week

If you were the Dallas Cowboys, would you have George Teague on the sidelines in case Terrell Owens tried to make a mad-dash to the star on Monday Night Football?

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Martz Stars in Punchline 2

That old Bum Phillips used to say that Don Shula was such a good coach that "he could take his and beat yours, and take yours and beat his."

That's probably how Mike Martz feels about Bill Belichick today. Martz is so inept, he could take his and lose to yours and he can take yours and lose to his.

There was a time when Martz was highly regarded in the NFL. St. Louis panicked and rushed Dick Vermeil into retirement so that Martz wouldn't leave to take another job. And this was days after Vermeil had led St. Louis to a Super Bowl victory.

It's hard to imagine that Martz was lauded as a genius and Belichick was considered a failure.

My how times have changed.

Martz remained a genius all the way until Super Bowl XXXVI when heavily favored St. Louis was felled by the New England Patriots, in the biggest upset since Super Bowl III.

And coincidentally, the loser in Super Bowl III-the Colts-were coached by Shula.

But from that day, Martz became the comic foil to Belichick. The Gilligan to his Skipper. The Lewis to his Martin. The Barney Rubble to his Fred Flinstone. The ... you get the picture.

Martz had one chance to reinvent his sullied name against the Patriots on Sunday. And once again Martz came up short. There was an old adage that a team, coming off a bye against a nonconference opponent, had a significant edge. Ask any gambler (or former NFLP staffer). But with Martz, all bets should be off the table.

With one extra week to prepare for the Patriots, this was the best effort St. Louis could muster? St. Louis could only score 22 points against a New England team that was using wide receiver Troy Brown as a defensive back?

But the biggest difference between the two teams can be measured in its reaction to trick plays. Martz called a direct snap to Marshall Faulk while quarterback Marc Bulger pretended to walk toward the sideline to call a time out.

The Patriots were not fooled. A well-coached team shouldn't be.

New England kicker Adam Vinatieri, however, was able to throw his first-ever touchdown pass to Brown on a fake field goal attempt that caught St. Louis napping.

A well-coached team does not fall for plays like that.

"I don't think that's the trickiest thing in the world," Martz said. "I mean, where was he going? To the John? We've got to pay more attention than that."

That's Martz, always joking.

Too bad nobody in St. Louis is laughing.

T.O. NOT PERFECT

Terrell Owens showed his sensative side this week when, in an attempt to deflect from his childish behavior, threw his "friend" Ray Lewis under the bus. Owens referenced Lewis' brush with the law a couple of years ago to show what a real "bad guy" is.

But what Owens fails to recognize is that Lewis was innocent of a double-murder charge. Owens is still guilty of being an a-hole.

But give Owens credit. He has no established himself as one of sports all-time great heels as he ranks with some of the best--Ric Flair, King Kong Bundy, the Iron Shiek, et al. And that's why most of America probably pulled for the Steelers, who put an end to Philadelphia's perfect season on Sunday.

But the big story was the arguement between T.O. and Donovan McNabb on the sidelines. Obviously both participants claimed it was just a case of two competitive guys that vented some frustration.

And it probably was.

These type of things can be swept under the rug when a team is 7-1. But what happens if the loses start to mount? Will T.O. be the model citizen he has proclaimed to be?

To quote T.O. from Playboy magazine, "If it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, by golly, it's a rat."

T.O. looks like a malcontent, smells like a malcontent, by golly, he's a malcontent. T.O. will start to point the fingers. And at that point look for McNabb to pull out the metal folding chair and knock it over T.O.'s head.

San Diego Super Chargers

The Chargers fans have been through this before. The club wins a couple of games early, fans get excited, and then the roof caves in. Look at Marty Schottenheimer's record in December. So you can excuse Chargers fans if they aren't making their reservations in Jacksonville just yet.

One thing that is certain is that Drew Brees has made himself the most coveted free agent since Rachel Hunter finally ditched Rod Stewart.

But what do the Chargers do in this situation? You can bet that no matter what the Chargers decide it will be the wrong thing. The Chargers just can't help themselves. If Amanda Peete showed up naked on Dean Spanos' door, he'd probably just send her away. (Probably to Arthur Blank's place.)

The Chargers should already plan to put the franchise label on Brees. Even if they don't want him for the long haul, they can't let him get away for free. The Chargers also owe it to their fan base to keep Brees if he leads the team to the playoffs. You can't have a situation like the one in Cincinnati where they squandered a possible playoff appearance in order to suffer with Carson Palmer.

You can't do that and sell tickets. Or get a new stadium, which might be more important than anything right now.

NEWS AND NOTES AROUND THE NFL

The Cowboys lose their fourth in five games Maybe Bill Parcells should dye his hair again.

Parcells also called his team "stupid" after they lost at Cincinnati. Was he talking about Keyshawn? And who was stupid enough to think that Vinny Testaverde was going to be the answer at quarterback? Which team tried to fill its quarterback position for the future by signing minor league baseball players?

Parcells shouldn't be so glib to throw around that phrase.

The Raiders defeat the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of the past two Super Bowl losers. Now the Raiders can call themselves the best loser of the past two years.

The Cardinals and Dolphins engage in brawl on the field before the game. The Dolphins lost that too.

Jake Plummer throws four touchdowns in Broncos win. More amazingly, Plummer does not complete one pass to a Texans defender.

Michael Freaking Pittman scores three touchdowns in the Buccaneers win. His first big game since the Raiders made him a star in the Super Bowl two years ago. At least Mrs. Pittman won't have to worry about him crashing his car into house tonight.

Brian Griese is reborn in Tampa Bay. Bobby Lane is spinning in his grave if Griese is doing this sober. What happened to the good ol' drunk quarterback? Come back Ken Stabler... we need you!

The Bears steal a win at New York. Craig Krenzel? When are teams going to stop drafting quarterbacks? Look at the list of past Super Bowl winners... Tom Brady, Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, Kurt Warner. It's time to stop looking at colleges, and more into rec leagues. And Dallas is starting Vinny Testaverde. Who's stupid Parcells?

Peyton Manning appears in a new ad in a gallant attempt to give him a personality. You have to give credit to his handlers for trying. But no matter how many ads Manning appears in, he still looks like a an idiot savant. Manning is like "Rain Man." Sure he can recognize defenses and call audibles, but he looks like he has trouble tying his shoes in the morning.

Grant Winstrom will appear in Monday Night Football's halftime feature, "You've been Punk'd... err... Sacked. Is Ashton Kutcher getting any royalties for this?

AND FINALLY

San Francisco receiver Brandon Lloyd responded to critics this week--teammates Fred Beasley and Kevan Barlow--with his best performance of the season.

"That's my regular game," Lloyd said. "I'm going to have fun and dance around and be silly."

What is with 49ers receivers—former and current—and the dancing? Doesn't anybody want to win football games anymore? And yet with all of this dancing, Jeff Garcia is questioned about his sexuality.



Sunday, October 31, 2004

Raider Nation Not in Celebrating Mood

It's always Halloween for Raiders fans, who hide behind a cloak of anonymity in their spiked shoulder pads and face paint. And who could blame them following Sunday's nightmare performance by the Chargers who clobbered the Raiders, 42-10.

Raiders fans once again saw their season end at Qualcomm Stadium just like in Super Bowl XXXVII.

As much fun as it is to watch the humiliation of a middle-aged account trying to tap his inner badass by wearing a silver-and-black Pharaoh's head, there was still something missing.

Qualcomm Stadium was almost serene. There were only 38 arrests and 75 ejections from Sunday's game. And you thought the play on the field for the Raiders was bad. Even Jacksonville fans put up more of a fight than that.

Gone was the self-denial that has been the hallmark of Raiders fans everywhere. Gone was the boasting about the winningest franchise of the decades. Even in the local bars, the Raiders fans were defeated, choosing to slink in their chairs at the normally raucous Tustin Brewing Company instead of chiding Chargers fans about their inability to win the big one.

A caller on the Raiders postgame show even tried to pin this loss on Kerry Collins--who lost his tenth consecutive game dating back to last season--but you could tell that his heart wasn't into the typical Raider-like scapegoating. He knew his team is a lost cause.

The Raiders players, taking a cue of their morose fans wouldn't even engage in a war of words on the field.

"We're out there talking trash," Chargers linebacker Steve Foley said, "we're in their ears about everything and they would just turn and walk back the other way. I don't know what that meant."

It means the Raiders are done.

REMEMBER WHEN WINNING WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING?

Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis and Eagles receiver have developed quite a rivalry this year. The two exchanged a war of words in the summer over Owens blocked trade to Baltimore.

But you know the real hatred came from the fact that Lewis is the cover boy for Madden 2005, while Owens represents the NFL 2K5 video game.

On Sunday it escalated as Owens turned a football game into a remake of the epically bad movie, You Got Served as Owens stole Lewis' dances move following a touchdown reception.

You can beat the Ravens, but don't ever... ever steal Ray's moves.

"Don't be a coward and wait until you make one play to do something," Lewis said. "What's faltering is that he has me on his mind when he's at home. I expect that from women... "

And it's Jeff Garcia that has had his sexual orientation questioned?

But Lewis did raise and interesting point. Remember the quaint days when NFL players did manly things like cutting their car in half with a hacksaw? Now they are making like Gene Anthony Ray and practicing their dance moves. It's sad, really

What's next, Omar Epps stars as an NFL player who elicits the help of Jennifer Lopez to learn a few dance moves in Shall We Dance II? Terrell Owens singing, "I Love You Mannequin?"

Imagine how good TO might be if winning football games were his chief concern.

DEION WEIGHS IN

When it comes to excessive end zone celebrations, it's important to consult the expert, Deion Sanders.

"T.O.'s good for the game," Sanders said. "He brings a lot of flavor to a boring sport. I'm o.k. with it."

Thanks Deion. Don Hutson never danced in the end zone. Jerry Rice, for all of his faults, casually tossed the ball to the referee following a touchdown. Barry Sanders, after snapping the ankles of six defenders on the way to the end zone, followed suit.

They were not boring.

NEWS AND NOTES AROUND THE NFL

The Vikings look like they might have a relapse of last year's spin that took them from 6-0 to out of the playoffs. Look for Bill Murray to play Mike Tice in the movie, Ground Hog's Day 2.

And if you fantasy team is resting on the arm of Daunte Culpepper, good luck.

The Packers defeat the Redskins, and if history is any indicator, John Kerry will win the election on Tuesday. Look for Mark Brunnell to be at the inauguration.

And does a Philadelphia win bode well for Libertarian candidate Concrete Mike Bednarik?

The Patriots have their NFL-record winning streak snapped in Pittsburgh. Boston fans now have something to moan about again.

Ben Roethlisberger to be played by John Goodman in the movie of his life?

Jerry Rice has one reception in Seattle's victory over Carolina. Does Jerry get it yet? How many trades is he going to seek before he realizes that he's done? Call it the Steve Largent curse.

Chiefs improve to 3-4 with a victory over Indianapolis. Do you think that the Colts would be better served with Tee Martin as quarterback? Will that joke ever be funny? The answer to both questions, unfortunately, is probably not.

St. Louis does not lose to a winless team this week. Mike Martz was a genius on Sunday.

All of the Raiders fans, Violater, Darth Raider, GladiRaider, Parole-Escape Raider, all showed up in San Diego on Sunday. You would think, for Halloween they would try to dress up as real football fans.

Embattled Drew Brees throws five touchdowns against the Raiders Drew's your Daddy, Oakland.

AND FINALLY

Cowboys receiver Keyshawn Johnson said that he’d like to spank FOX reporter Pam Oliver with a ruler over a disputed sideline report last week in Dallas.

Oliver said that if Keyshawn ever tried to spank her she would "punch him in the face."

Can't these two kiss and make up like Joe Namath and Suzy Koebler?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

From the Archives: Raiders Fans in the Mist

This story was originally intended for NFL Insider magazine in 2002, but the reporter did not return. Recently, a dog-earned notebook surfaced in Tempe, Ariz. Here is all that is left.

Some assignments take you to some of the most hostile places on Earth: Iraq. Somalia. Afghanistan. Any of those choices would have seemed like a day in Disneyland compared to eth assignment I recently received--consorting with Raiders fans. The Oakland Raiders and their traveling band of gypsy fans were making a road trip to Arizona and I was asked to assimilate and find out how the mind of a Raiders fan works.

This involved taking a huge leap of faith believing that Raiders fans actually possession the ability of cognitive reasoning. Undaunted, I still accepted the task.

To really understand Raiders fans, you must first distinguish between the Oakland Raiders fans and Los Angeles Raiders fans. Oakland fans are the cartoon characters that show up at games wearing their Halloween costumes. A creative bunch, they are led by Darth Raider, Pharaoh Raider, Gladi-Raider, and their minions.

Although this group looks gruesome, it is actually a fairly harmless bunch of frustrated accountants who lead such mundane real lives that to dress up for a professional football game rates as the highlight of their weekends. Darth Raider is likely some middle-manager in Chandler Bing's field--meaning nobody knows what he does for a living. The helmet-less Darth Raider must wake up each morning, put on his white shirt and tie, then drive his Ford Focus in rush-hour traffic cursing his life.

But he is Darth Freaking Raider come Sunday.

Los Angeles fans are some of the most dangerous people on Earth. One Los Angeles fan admitted that he was late leaving for Arizona because he had to pick up his mother in Chino ... Prison. She was the most respectable one in the bunch. She looked like the Church Lady compared to the rest of the face-painting, fight seeking, foul-mouthed fans who pounded a six-pack for breakfast and garnished their bloody Mary with pepper spray.

And that is just the children. One of the kids walked around Tempe with a sign that said, "My first Raiders game." He stabbed his first Cardinals fan in the second quarter.

It was this latter group of Raiders fans that I had to assimilate with and to do so, I had to do something to my appearance. I grew an ill-fated beard about two weeks prior to the game. Unfortunately, Al Gore can grow a thicker beard so I opted for a goatee.

Another surefire identifying mark is a tattoo. Raiders fans are proud of their tattoos. One fan had their entire back covered by the Raiders shield. She was a handsome woman. You had to admit that her movie theater sized back and tattoo looked pretty cool riding on the back of her husband's motorcycle. I opted for a temporary Harley Davidson tattoo ... on my neck because I am not ready to make that big of a commitment to the story. Even if it meant my life.

Clothing was easy--anything black was acceptable. I was hoping to score one of those white Al Davis jump suits, but Montgomery Ward went out of business a long time ago. So I went with a black No. 12 Raiders jersey. But it was not for Ken Stabler, rather Todd Marinovich.

"Marijuanavich (sic) was the man, dawg," screamed one Raiders fan as I walked by. I had past that test.

The most important step was to take any football knowledge and forget it completely. To be a true Raiders fan, rationality is strictly prohibited. Nobody ever beats the Raiders. It is always the NFL screwing the team. That is right, the NFL has a vendetta against the Raiders because the Raiders keep fighting the league (and winning) in court.

Rational NFL fans knows that if this were really true, the St. Louis football team (Georgia Frontiere) and the Baltimore Ravens (Art Modell) would not have ever sniffed the playoffs, let alone win a Super Bowl in the past couple of years. But when you are trying to occupy the mind of a Raiders fan, you have to ignore logic.

Confident that I looked the part, and sure I could pass the "intelligence" test, I approached my first group of Raiders fans in a small parking lot.

"[Expletive] the Cardinals," I shouted. "[Expletive] those mother [expletive] and let’s kick their [expletive] [expletives]!"

I was instantly accepted into the Raiders clique like Mo Vaughn at a strip club. I received free beers and food over the next couple of hours as I regaled tales about how the Raiders were screwed by that damn tuck rule. It did not matter that Charles Woodson hit Tom Brady in the head, or that the Raiders gagged four of their last six games of the 2001 season, it was the "tuck rule" that forced them to play in the snow in New England. It did not matter that the Patriots had to drive the length of the field—twice—to kick the game-tying and game-winning field goals in the snow; it was the referee's fault.

It is always somebody else's fault because nobody ever beats the Raiders.

I would have been elected mayor of Raider Nation if they held elections that morning. It would have been a landslide. We moved the party from the Tempe parking lots to inside of the stadium and it was just more of the same. My newfound comrades and I intimidated the local fans; insulted the state (the one that pays their welfare checks); and scared children. We taunted, we teased, and we overtook Sun Devil Stadium, and claimed it as our own.

As the game clock started to wind down on a Raiders blowout, we chided Arizona fans who feared for their safety. I secretly apologized in my mind with each expletive that I uttered. I felt for these people. I knew, as an old Los Angeles Rams fan what it was like to be on the receiving end of these insults. But I had to keep my cool. When you are Ken Wahl in Wiseguy undercover, you cannot let them know that you secretly are not one of them.

We descended upon the town of Tempe like a biblical plague of locust after the game, pillaging the bars and refusing to tip the bartenders. We were like the "Black Widows" from a 1970s Clint Eastwood movie. We were the kings of the day.

I put my arm around one of my fellow Raiders fan after the game and said, "As a true Raiders fan, I am so glad we win games like this because we always choke in the playoffs. These games are truly meaningful because we have not won a Super Bowl since the 1980s, but we are always good in the regular season. These wins over juggernauts like Arizona in the regular season more than make up for all of our recent choke-jobs in the playoffs."

The Raiders fan looked at me (and without a hint of irony) replied, "Amen, brother."

Yep, it was a great day to be a Raiders fan.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Terror Alert Level Raised in San Diego

SAN DIEGO Local jails are creating space as the terror alert has reached the silver-and-black level meaning that the Raiders are coming to town. Raiders fans around Southern California are asking for permission from their parolee officers in an attempt to get down to San Diego and wreck havoc on the beautiful city of San Diego.

But the biggest destruction has to be the Raiders themselves, who dropped another game to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. You would think that the poor performance of the Raiders this season would temper the enthusiasm of their fans.

But it won't.

If anything, it makes Raiders fans more prone to violence. It's like a word problem in math. Raiders losses are directly proportional to the number of beers that will be consumed in the parking lot before a game.

This week should be no different. The Raiders futility this season means that their fans will start tailgating around noon on Thursday to be in rare form for Sunday.

Once again parents will not bring their children to a Chargers game because the bullying fans of the Raiders will attempt to intimidate and harangue the local faithful. But don't worry Chargers fans. Those weeekend furloughs will expire at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Keep checking Hater Nation this week as we celebrate Raiders Week in San Diego.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Mike Martz: Defensive Genius

The Dolphins were so desperate to jettison Jay Fiedler in the offseason, they spent a second-round draft pick on career backup A.J. Feeley. On Sunday, Fiedler made like Dan Marino in Miami's 31-14 victory over St. Louis.

It's easy to blame most Rams losses on the self-satistfied Mike Martz, who continually proves that he should have never been promoted to head coach. But you can't pin this defensive meltdown on Martz, can you?

The Dolphins faced a third-and-28 situation late in the second quarter. Martz overruled defensive coordinator Larry Marmie and called for an all-out blitz. Martz showed that he is equally inept as a defensive coordinator as Fiedler hit Randy McMichael on a 42-yard touchdown. Where was Jason Sehorn?

"That was the only defense I've called as a head coach, and we gave up a touchdown," Martz said. "How do you like that?"

At least his defensive calls produce touchdowns. Too bad it's for the other team.

But that call wasn't even the biggest coaching blunder of the series. The Dolphins were flagged for holding on the preceding play--an icomplete pass that would have made it fourth and 18 had Martz declined.

But the genius accepted the penalty and called a blitz. Obviously Martz thought (big assumption here) that they penalty would take Miami out of field goal range. But was he really worried that journeyman Matt Bryant (signed two weeks ago to replace Olindo Mare) was going to boot a 49-yard field goal?

The only saving grace for St. Louis fans is that Mike Holmgren also has the same affliction that drives him to show the world how smart he is, instead of winning football games. The first coach that gets serious about winning--and forgets about mugging for the cameras--is going to win the NFC West.

RICE COOKED

Jerry Rice received his pardon from the Raiders and made an immediate impact with the Seahawks. Rice had one recpetion for 10 yards. Hey, it was an improvement from his 2004 statistics with the Raiders.

It has almost come to the point where Rice Haters can't even enjoy his downfall anymore. Almost. But it's painful. Much like the famous scene from Can't Buy Me Love where Ronald Miller can't see the signs that Cindy Mancini has fallen for him, even though everybody else can.

Everybody who watches football knows that Rice is done, but he can't see the signs. Rice is only tarnishing his reputation. And sure, things worked out for Rondald Miller in the movie, but don't expect any happy ending for Rice.

Unless of course he goes for one of those deep-tissue massages he was famous for in San Francisco.

RICE THE INGRATE

It was quite a shock to see Rice wearing #80 for the Seahawks. That number belonged to Seattle legend and Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Steve Largent. Rice (and his agent) asked Largent for permisson to take the number out of the rafters in order to tarnish two legacies. How awkward was that phone call for Largent? How could somebody have the audacity to even ask for such a thing? It must have been like when your neighbor asks you if you are busy on the weekend and then asks if you can help him move. What is Largent supposed to say in this situation.

Rice will likely ask to be dealt to Green Bay next so he can wear Don Hutson's #14.

ONE LEGEND STILL FIGHTING

Emmitt Smith was urged by many to hang up his cleats instead of suffering the indignity of playing for the Cardinals. His first season did nothing to dispel that notion.

But Smith, who rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, has been vital to the Cardinals running game this season in the absence of Marcel Shipp. The best part? Smith did not ask for Larry Wilson's retired number.

HAVE A BEER AND RELAX COLLINS

The parolees in the Black Hole section booed Kerry Collins during the Raiders 31-26 loss to the Saints. Collins, not know for making the best decisions, egged on the crowd by motioning to them.

Why doesn't Collins just hand those guys a shiv?

But this week it was the special teams that let the Raiders down. Colby Bockwoldt scooped up a fumble on a kick and returned it for the eventual game-winning score. Then the Raiders fans chanted for Jerry Rice.

NEWS AND NOTES AROUND THE NFL

* Jacksonville upsets the Colts at home. Peyton Manning said that he wanted to treat this game like a playoff game. He did, he lost.

* Philadelphia beats Clevland 27-24 in overtime. Lost in the Terrell Owens/Jeff Garcia saga is the fact that the Browns passed on the chance to draft Donovan McNabb in the 1999 NFL Draft. Cleveland had narrowed its choice down to Tim Couch and Akili Smith. And you wonder why this team hasn't won a Super Bowl.

* Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said this was the low point in his Cowboys coaching career after a 40-21 loss at Green Bay. And this is a guy that saw Jerry Jones post surgery. But expectations were a little too high for a team that has had Quincy Carter and Vinny Testaverde at quarterback. And where's the running game?

* The Lions have turned into road warriors this season with three consecutive wins away from Detroit. Any excuse to get away from Detroit is a good one. Mariucci has told his team that if they win, they don't have to go back to Detroit on Tuesday.

* San Diego wins again, 17-6, over fading Carolina. Chargers fans have seen this before; the hot start followed by the cold fade. If LT's injury is serious it will start in two weeks... after the Raiders game.

* New England wins its 21st consecutive game. Do Boston fans deserve to be this happy? As Clint Eastwood said, "Deserves got nothing to do with it."

* Kansas City wins, 56-10, over Atlanta. Trent Green does not figure in eight Kansas City scores much to the dismay of fantasy owners everywhere.

* Orange County Register columnist compares Carson Palmer's first season with Troy Aikman's first season as a starter in Dallas. But the Cowboys weren't coming off a near playoff season. The Bengals have written off 2004, but not before they secured a berth on Monday Night Football. Where's Steve Walsh when you need him?


And Finally...

Ashlee Simpson, who has the honor of being the most skilless of the untalented Simpson family, had a snafu on Saturday Night Live over the weekend. Evidentally Simpson can't sing live and had lip-synched her performance. The only problem was, the producers played the wrong song.

Look for Ashlee to team up with the surviving member of Milli Vanilli (is it Rob or Fab?) for a tour in the New Year.



Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Breaking News: Crybaby Rice Gets His Way

OAKLAND--Jerry Rice got his wish when the Oakland Raiders traded the fading super star to the Seattle Seahawks. Rice apparently won out over Raiders management when he threatened to hold his breath until he turned blue unless he was traded.