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.
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.