What The Hell’s Going On Out There?

October 16, 2008 – 2:55 am by Hickey

It pains me to rehash a Vince Lombardi catchphrase that’s oft-rehashed by Chris Berman, but I have been left with no choice. As of this past week, the NFL has officially ceased making any kind of sense whatsoever. I’m not sure where to start, or where to finish. But that’s appropriate, given the completely confusing spin cycle that we are currently witnessing.

There are no more good teams in the NFL

Pop quiz, hot shot: Name the favorites for the Super Bowl.

Really? The Titans? Sure you’re gonna stick with that? Who do you like in the NFC? The Cardinals?

See what I mean? There isn’t a whole lot of “Oh shit, we’ve got to look out for them” at the top of the standings. The team that everyone was supposed to be scared of, the Cowboys, is 4-2. (More on them later.)

The NFC North and South have three-ways ties for first. And the last place team in the South is just a game out. The NFC East is similarly jumbled — the 4-1 Giants lead it, but everyone is still very much in play for a division title.

Basically, it seems like their are about 20 playoff-worthy teams, but no Super Bowl-worthy teams. The ’07 Patriots are no more. At least it will be fun to see how the jumble straightens out. (Unless it is unjumbled by some arcane tie-breaker when five teams are tied for the final playoff spot.)

An in-depth look at the wildest week in NFL history

Do I have any historical evidence to back up this grandiose claim? Kind of. Which is more than enough if I would happen to be engaging you in a presidential debate.

For instance, let’s take a peek at the Bears-Falcons game. Kyle Orton leads the Bears back from the dead and hits Rashied Davis with the game-winning touchdown pass with 11 seconds left. I celebrate. My friend Big Ken Money states, “Well, I said I’d buy shots if the Bears win, so I guess I’m buying shots.”

“Hold on, I don’t want you to get too ahead of yourself,” I replied.

“What’s the chances of them not winning, like 1 percent?”

Actually, it was less than that. Only three times in NFL history (post-1970 AFL merger) has a team given up the go-ahead score with less than 15 seconds remaining and come back to win. Of course Sunday was the third time as the Falcons benefited from a squib kick, a perfect Matt Ryan pass and a 48-yard Jason Elam field goal.

In an unrelated bar incident in Mt. Prospect, IL, one of those “Caution: Wet Floor” signs was knocked over in a fit of rage as the ball went through the uprights.

The damnedest thing is that still might not have been the most absurd game of the week.

You’ve got the Browns crushing the previously unbeaten Giants, who were coming off a bye.

The previously winless Texans finally hitting paydirt on a Matt Schaub touchdown run with three seconds left.

The previously winless Rams stunning the Washington ballclub on a field goal as time expired — on a kick that was pushed back to 49 yards because they were called for unsportsmanlike conduct right before the field goal attempt.

But the mother of all strange endings was in the desert, where the Cardinals and Cowboys inspired us to add a corollary to the Curse of Dick Stockton. Stockton, who is known for bring death and destruction upon the Cubs when he calls their games, seemed to have a similar effect on the Cowboys. (Not that I mind when something bad happens to the Cowboys.)

Not following me?

Well, the Cardinals won the game in overtime by scoring a touchdown on a blocked punt. That ending has literally never happened in the history of the NFL prior to this point. On the same play, Dallas punter Mat McBriar broke his foot. He’ll be out for the rest of the season. And in the same game, Tony Romo broke his pinky. He’ll be out… well, more on that later.

But the moral of the story is lots of bad crap happened to the Boys while Stockton was filling in for Joe Buck as Fox’s No. 1 play-by-play man. (On the flip side, he did call all three games of the Diamondbacks’ sweep of the Cubs last year, so apparently his good karma rubs off on Arizona teams.)

How ’bout them Cowboys?

By the time you read this, everything I’m about to write about the Cowboys is subject to change. That’s how confusing this team is.

Here’s what we do know. We think.

– Pacman Jones: Not such a good idea after all. Jerry Jones is learning the hard way that it’s not like the good ole days where his boys could do hookers and blow and masturbate in front of their teammates in the locker room and the commish wouldn’t care.

– What the hell is Brett Favre doing calling Tony Romo and telling him to try playing with a broken pinkie when the doc says he’ll miss four weeks? Is this considered tampering? And how many times do you think he’s called Aaron Rodgers this year?

– If things weren’t confusing enough with this team, now there is another Roy Williams in the mix. At least they don’t play on the same side of the ball. Although just for fun I think Jerry Jones should can Wade Phillips and see if UNC’s Roy Williams is willing to switch sports and take over.

On a serious note, I don’t see Williams helping this team any. Like T.O., he’s a petulant loudmouth. Unlike T.O., he sucks. Against the Bears, Williams had one drop for every catch that he made (if not more.) Being a close follower of the NFC North, I know that performances like that are par for the course for Roy, who always talks a big game but rarely backs it up.

Then again, maybe playing for a winning team will inspire him to finish plays, a la Randy Moss as a Patriot.

In the zoo that is Dallas, or anywhere else in this league, it’s hard to say what will happen with any certainty.

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