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.



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