(Oct. 11, 2005) -- I'm ready to predict the exact final score of an NFL
game, and just to make things interesting, I will handicap myself by not
knowing who's playing. My prediction: Home Team 20, Visiting Team 17.
Regular readers of Tuesday Morning Quarterback know it is a complete
waste of time for anyone to attempt to predict an exact NFL final score.
Last winter, yours truly
tabulated the final score predictions offered over the years by the
Sporting News, the New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service;
of 2,426 predictions, five were correct. That represents one-in-500 odds
of predicting an exact NFL final score. You might as well try to predict
exactly on what day the next lunar landing will occur. But while it's a
waste of time to attempt to predict scores game by game, generic final
scores make sense. In 2004, there were four NFL contests that ended Home
Team 34, Visiting Team 31; four that ended Visiting Team 17, Home Team
10; three each that ended Home Team 24, Visiting Team 17, Home Team 20,
Visiting Team 17 and Visiting Team 20, Home Team 17. So suppose last
season you had simply endlessly forecast that every game would result in
the home team winning by a count of 34-31. You would have been right
four of 256 times -- better than USA Today, which forecast games
individually and went 0-for-256.
For the remainder of the NFL season, I'm forecasting every single game
will end with the home team winning by a count of 20-17. That outcome
happened three times last season, and has already happened twice this
season. The first beauty of my system is that I am predicting a
statistically likely combination of scores. Sometimes on sports websites
that are, let's just say, not as good as NFL.com, you see touts
predicting that games will end 33-19 or 15-12 or some other improbable
combination; stick with likely scores. The second beauty of my system is
that you don't need to possess incredible insider information, you don't
have to pore over tables of statistics, you don't even have to know
which teams are playing! You just endlessly predict that every game will
be won by the home team by a count of 20-17. Of course, you will mainly
be wrong, but you'll be wrong less often than if you tried to forecast
game by game. And if you're in an office pool, my system makes far more
sense than, say, thinking about it.
In other football news, something happened Sunday that happens all the
time in high-school and college football, yet is rare in the National
Football League -- the victor ran up the score. Leading 35-3 at
halftime, Green Bay kept Brett Favre in the game the entire third
quarter, until the count was 45-3; Favre threw eight times after the
Packers took the 35-3 lead, which would have required the greatest
regular-season comeback in NFL history for New Orleans to overcome. Yes,
the spectacular final 52-3 margin was cathartic for the Green Bay
faithful, who had endured five consecutive losses. But there's no doubt
Green Bay was rubbing it in, and against the hapless, vagabond Saints no
less. Running up the score is offensive at the high-school and
collegiate levels, where an official reason for games is to teach
sportsmanship; running up the score is the reverse of sportsmanship.
The balance is different in the pros, where the first reason for the
games is the entertainment of the audience, and where the players are
well-paid grownups. There is no doubt the Lambeau Field crowd was better
entertained because Favre stayed in and the Packers padded their point
total; and while it is wrong for poor-sport high-school or college
coaches to hurt the feelings of players on lesser teams by running up
the score, the New Orleans Saints are professionals who know their
private feelings are irrelevant to a professional event. Still, yours
truly was uncomfortable when Favre threw two consecutive passes from the
Saints' 8-yard line with Green Bay ahead 42-3; this was an obvious
attempt to humiliate an opponent. For Green Bay to show questionable
sportsmanship is not good karma -- especially at a time when the Packers
need the football gods to smile on them if their season is to be
In other news, after his former Jets and Patriots players Keyshawn
Johnson, Terry Glenn and Drew Bledsoe came up big in Dallas' rout of
Philadelphia, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells announced that Harry Carson,
Jimbo Covert, Joe Morris, Jim Burt, Terry Kinard and Bart Oates would
join the team for Sunday's Giants-Dallas clash. "There may also be
players changing uniforms during the game," Parcells announced.
Finally on the crystal-ball front, reader Omar Jalife of Mexico City
notes that not only does the consensus of users continue to lead the
experts on the Yahoo!
NFL predictions page, but my off-price ultra-generic
prediction -- simply, Home Team Wins -- is outperforming them all. The
best Yahoo! expert is 44-30; the consensus of users is 45-29; Home Team
Wins is 46-28. Dear Yahoo!, I now formally challenge you to include the
Tuesday Morning Quarterback ultra-generic prediction on your football
picks page. This would be entertaining and keep users clicking, so add
the TMQ prediction and see how it does. Whassamatter, Yahoo! -- you
scared or something?
Stats of the Week: Owing to penalties, Detroit ran six
consecutive plays from the Baltimore 1-yard line -- and needed all six
Stats of the Week No. 2: Dallas outgained Philadelphia by 327
yards and 22 first downs.
Stats of the Week No. 3: Indianapolis leads the league in scoring
defense, allowing just six points per game.
Stats of the Week No. 4: Arizona and Washington both exceeded 400
yards of offense and lost.
Stats of the Week No. 5: First overall draft pick Alex Smith of
San Francisco threw 23 times for a net gain of 44 yards.
Stats of the Week No. 6: Buffalo has a losing record despite
being plus-seven in turnovers; Washington has a winning record despite
being minus-five. Half the explanation: Buffalo has six points in the
Stats of the Week No. 7: Baltimore and Miami combined to commit
Stats of the Week No. 8: The NFC North is 0-8 on the road. Stat
submitted by Zack Slabotsky of West Bloomfield, Mich.
Stats of the Week No. 9 The sole victory for Arizona has come in
Stats of the Week No. 10: Seven teams allowed more points on
Sunday than the Colts have allowed all season. Stat submitted by Craig
Ellenport of North Massapequa, N.Y.
Stats of the Week No. 11: With Indianapolis the sole undefeated
team, there is no possible pairing of undefeateds for the remainder of
the NFL season.
Cheerleader of the Week: Stacy Pratt of Tulsa, Okla., nominates
Amber of the Cincinnati Bengals. She's a graduate student at the
University of Cincinnati and an ICU nurse -- male fantasy overload! I
mean being a nurse and a cheerleader, not being a graduate student and a
cheerleader. According to her team bio, Amy has both a brother and a
sister who are United States Marines just returned from Iraq. Asked her
favorite Bengals player, she answered, "Carson Palmer and Brian
Simmons." That's two players!
Bengals' Amber pulls double duty as a cheerleader and a nurse.
Best Purist Drive After the Clock Struck Midnight: Trailing 22-21
at 12:07 a.m. Eastern, Pittsburgh took over on its 38 with 4:36
remaining. Rather than go pass-wacky, the Steelers staged a classic
clock-management drive, running seven times and passing just thrice. The
result was both the winning field goal and the scoreboard showing 10
seconds left, so the host Chargers could not reply. You just don't see
many modern teams running up the middle when trailing late in the fourth
quarter, and last night -- rather, this morning -- Pittsburgh did so to
Sweet Play of the Week: The defending champions leading 7-0, New
England had second-and-10 on the Atlanta 45. Tom Brady faked a screen
left, then did a dancer's "turn out," spinning around his outside
shoulder, and fired a screen right to tight end Daniel Graham, who went
the distance behind a perfect block by guard Stephen Neal.
Sweet Special-Teams Play: College coaches often send almost
everybody after the punter, while rarely do more than a couple of men
rush the punt in the NFL. Why? As
TMQ has noted, "If the coach orders a big punt rush and the result
is roughing the kicker, then the coach is lambasted; if the coach sends
a token rush while everyone else drops back to block, the receiving team
may end up with poor field position, but there's nothing to criticize
the coach about." Because so few NFL teams go after punts, when the
tactic is tried it's often effective. With Jacksonville leading 7-0 in
the first quarter, Cincinnati lined up to punt. Eight men came after the
punter; block, and a field goal on the possession makes it a 10-0
Sweet 'N' Sour Play: Trailing 10-6 with 3:01 remaining, the
Cleveland Browns (3.0b) had first-and-10 on the Chicago 33. The Browns
called a "max protect" play on which eight blocked and only two
receivers ran routes; Antonio Bryant got deep on the left side for the
touchdown that gave Cleveland its winning points. Yours truly watched
the tape of this play several times in rapt fascination. First, because
eight are blocking five pass rushers, nobody ever gets near quarterback
Trent Dilfer -- the Bears' defensive line is a good seven yards from
Dilfer as he waits for Bryant to shake his man. Second, Bryant only has
one man to shake because he's single-covered. With five Bears rushing
the passer and the rest dropping into coverage, six defenders were
available to cover just two receivers; yet Bryant, going deep, was
single-covered. Where were all the rest of the Chicago defenders? A
sweet play for Cleveland, very sour for Chicago.
Sweet High-School Play: Leading 17-3, Dallas faced fourth-and-1
on the Philadelphia 12. A standard high-school trick near the goal line
is to bring in someone who never plays, then give him the ball. In
trotted backup fullback Lousaka Polite, who had one career reception
entering Sunday's contest. Play-fake and a pass to Polite in the flat;
no one covered him, touchdown.
Sour Play of the Week: Trailing 20-13 on the second play of the
fourth quarter and facing fourth-and-1 on the Jacksonville 39,
Cincinnati made the right Maroon Zone call and went for it, rather than
launch a Preposterous Punt. The Jax defense stuffed the run; this was
the biggest play of the Sunday night game. The Jaguars did not even have
an "overstack" on the field, just their regular front seven. Yet runner
Rudi Johnson was hit in the backfield -- a sour play for a Cincinnati
offensive line that's otherwise having a good season.
Sour Ruling of the Week: The "tuck rule" reared its annoying head
again Sunday. The Redskins appeared to score a safety at a key juncture
against the Broncos, on an apparent Jake Plummer fumble that Plummer
fell on in his end zone. After viewing replays, referee Peter Morelli
overturned the safety, saying the tuck rule made the down an
incompletion. Morelli was enforcing the rule correctly -- but it's a
dumb rule, as it rewards the quarterback for losing control of the ball!
Plummer started to move his arm, tried to stop and dropped the ball; in
common-sense terms that's a fumble. Denver sent out its kickoff team to
free-kick following the safety that Denver coaches thought happened. The
obvious reform is to change the tuck rule. An alternative, suggested by
Rahul Keshap of Charlottesville, Va., is classify tuck-rule instances as
intentional grounding. The tuck rule usually comes into play when the
quarterback is about to get sacked -- as in the situation at Denver and
the situation in the New England-Oakland Snow Bowl. (As I've argued
before, the way the tuck rule is written, quarterbacks could avoid
almost all sacks simply by making a tucking motion then dropping the
ball on the ground.) Jeff Blanc of Gaithersburg, Md., adds that if the
tuck-rule action really is an incompletion, the pass does not get to the
line of scrimmage and is never catchable for an eligible receiver -- and
this is pretty much the definition of grounding. To prevent the rule
from rewarding the quarterback who loses control of the ball as he's
about to be sacked, enforce the tuck as intentional grounding.
The Yugo Girl -- Get It? Last week, Zastava, the Serbian company
that built the now-defunct Yugo,
signed a deal to begin producing Fiats under license. The first step
will be to rebuild Zastava's factory, which was bombed by NATO in 1999.
A Fiat-Yugo alliance -- can you think of a worse conjunction of low
quality? It's like saying you've invented a new food that combines Spam
and corn husks. Anyway, it's a shame the Yugo went out of production
just a few years too soon. If it was still around, the company could
offer a model called the Girl.
The Yugo is ready for a transformation.
My "Words Produced Per Dollar of Compensation" Makes Me the All-Time
Leader in Sportswriting: News story: "The University of Chicago's
Richard Thaler and Yale University's B. Cade Massey applied their
science to the annual task facing general managers in the NFL. Using
statistics such as 'yards gained per dollar of compensation,' the pair
concluded the NFL's top draft picks are overpriced." Thaler and Massey
got a lot of sports-page ink for asserting many top draft picks are
overpriced. What, you needed an academic study to figure this out? Who
doesn't know that many high draft picks get too much while many late-round
picks get too little?
Thaler and Massey's paper maintains that the NFL draft system
actually penalizes losing teams by awarding them the top picks in the
draft -- selections used on players who receive huge bonuses and are
overpriced compared to what they accomplish. Maybe, but then why don't
teams at the beginning of the first round simply trade their selections
straight-up for picks at the bottom of the first round? Presumably most
NFL teams are what economists call "rational actors," and would get rid
of high picks if such selections actually were worth less than lower
picks. That NFL clubs never offer a straight exchange of high picks for
low picks suggests they perceive this not to be in their rational
self-interest, and it can't be that every single one of 32 NFL teams
fails to grasp its own self-interest. Perhaps teams calculate the bad
press and fan anger that would be incurred by deliberate sacrifice of
high picks would outweigh any salary-cap leverage gained. Thaler and
Massey don't address the value of public relations in their study, but
public relations is an economic good and one of considerable worth to
organizations in the entertainment business, such as sports teams. Here,
the Wall Street Journal
analyzes the top-paid players in the NFL and finds that general
managers actually have been doing a fairly good job of steering the
richest contracts to the best performers.
Anyway, it's not the NFL draft system that's misguided, it's the "winner
take all" premise of contemporary American society. Top draft choices
are hardly the only ones overpaid compared to what they accomplish -- so
are most CEOs, and many at the tops of other professions.
See this important book for more on that topic. And no, I don't
think everyone should be paid the same: Doctors should earn more than
cab drivers. But top-versus-bottom pay ratios are way out of whack in
much of society; big-corporate CEOs now average more than
300 times the income of hourly workers, and that's ridiculous.
Preposterous Pooch Punt: With the game tied at 7, Die
Morgenmuffel -- see below -- faced fourth-and-8 on the Seattle 35. The
Rams lined up in field-goal formation, then placekicker Jeff Wilkins
pooch-punted for a touchback -- Seahawks ball on the 20. The Rams
exchanged a good chance of three points for a trivial gain of 15 yards
in field position, plus it took Seattle exactly one snap to get past the
point where the ball would have been if St. Louis had gone for the field
goal and missed. It would have been a 52-yard attempt under ideal
conditions (domed stadium), and Wilkins has made eight of his last nine
from beyond 50. You can't help but suspect the Rams, who like surprise
calls, got too cute here for their own good.
As for Die Morgenmuffel, for years TMQ has been calling the St. Louis
franchise Les Mouflons -- French for the Corsican ram whose curved horn
adorns the team's helmets. Then a while back I used the German word
"Morgenmuffel," which means a slow starter, especially someone who is
not a morning person. Reader Jörg Aumann of Schwarzenholz, Germany,
suggests that since the Rams are off to a slow start, we keep with the
international theme and change their cognomon from Les Mouflons to Die
Morgenmuffel. (Morgenmuffel is both singular and plural.) And "Muffel,"
Aumann notes, is
German for mouflon. So until such time as St. Louis' fortunes
improve, the team will be Die Morgenmuffel to this column.
Al Franken's "Sodom and Gomorrah on the Seven Seas" Cruise Was
Cancelled When the Ship Began Listing to Port: Last summer, Bill
O'Reilly cancelled a planned "values cruise" when few signed up for the
trip at $1,099 to $1,629 depending on the room, plus $250 to attend a
cocktail party with O'Reilly. The cruise, sponsored by Corporate Travel
Service and by the Thomas More Law Center, was to have been held aboard
Holland America's ocean liner, the Westerdam, with stops in
Jamaica and Grand Cayman; the voyage was to feature ship-board seminars
on conservative policy and was titled the "Battle for American Values
Cruise." Apparently American values don't include truth in advertising
since although O'Reilly's photo was all over the promotional brochure
(which has since disappeared from the web), the fine print cautioned,
"Passengers agree that neither Corporate Travel Service nor the Thomas
More Law Center will be held responsible or liable for any refund in the
event that circumstances prevent Mr. O'Reilly's participation in the
Battle for America's Values cruise." O'Reilly is hardly the only one
pulling this artful dodge: Britney Spears regularly skips the
season-ending show at the
Britney Spears Camp for the Performing Arts.
Mike Nugent Watch: In my preseason AFC preview, I posited that
Nugent, the highest-drafted placekicker in years, would do no better for
the Jets this season than Doug Brien, whom Jersey/B cut and who is now
with Chicago. So far, my projection is performing about as well as most
NFL predictions -- totally wrong. Nugent is 4 for 7, while Brien is 1
for 4 and was inactive Sunday while another gentleman tried out for the
Chicago placekicking job. Kicker update: Buffalo's Rian Lindell, whom
TMQ last week called out for not hitting a field goal from farther than
44 yards since November 2002, hit a clutch fourth-quarter 47-yarder.
Missed Opportunity: Owing to multiple penalties against the
Nevermores, Detroit kicked off in opposition territory, a circumstances
almost never seen. The Lions kickoff was spotted on the Baltimore 40.
Detroit, leading 21-10 at the end of the third, just kicked away, and
the kickoff sailed out of the end zone, giving Jason Hanson a touchback
for his stats. Why didn't the Lions onside kick? A failed onside would
have left Baltimore deep in its territory anyway, while a success would
have iced the game.
Ravens Woes: When do Baltimore fans want to see 21 penalties
again? Nevermore! Highlight reels will forever show the play on which
Joey Harrington throws what looks like a really bad incomplete pass;
Detroit's Kevin Jones casually picks up the rock and stands there
patting it; then Jones realizes the whistle never sounded and he's
holding a live fumble; Jones runs 27 yards to the Baltimore 2, setting
up the touchdown that made it Lions 14, Ravens 0. Yes, the play was
strange. But Jones ran past four Baltimore defenders who did nothing at
all -- stood watching him, though no whistle had sounded. Even the
Stanford band played better defense than that!
On Sunday, Ronde Barber of the Bucs punched an official and was not
thrown out, while Terrell Suggs of Baltimore screamed at an official and
was ejected; Baltimore sportstalk radio said this shows unfairness
against the Ravens. But it was 100 percent clear Suggs should have been
disqualified. As an extremely highly paid professional, Suggs is
supposed to know that any player who menaces an official gets the thumb.
That leaves the question of why Barber wasn't tossed. His punch to
umpire Butch Hannah was an accident, in the sense that Barber was trying
to punch a Jets player -- which in itself should have gotten him
ejected. What was at work here is that Barber has a reputation around
the league as a good person, so the officiating crew gave him the
benefit of the doubt. There aren't many on the Baltimore team or
sideline with good reputations around the league, so when the
Ravens-Lions game became tense, officials offered no benefit of the
Ernest Wilford Play of the Week: "ERN-est WIL-ford, ERN-est
WIL-ford," yours truly and Official Child Spenser, a Jax fan, chanted as
Wilford caught an 11-yard touchdown. Scott Self of Seffner, Fla., points
out that Jacksonville is 4-0 in games in which Wilford scores a
touchdown. Work it to Wilford!
Are Gamma-Ray Bursts the Mushrooms Clouds of Outer Space?:
Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful events humanity has observed. In
some, for an instant one point in deep space appears to emit more energy
than all the stars of a galaxy combined; the brightest recorded such
light reached Earth in 1998, was so intense that for an
instant the source seemed more luminous than the entire universe
combined. Relatively long gamma-ray bursts are believed caused by the
collapse of giant stars much more massive than our sun. Last week,
astronomers in several countries jointly declared their belief, based on
results from a spacecraft NASA launched to study gamma bursts, that
brief gamma-ray bursts are caused by
collisions of neutron stars, which are the dense remnants of old,
Are aliens lighting up the universe with their gamma bombs?
Maybe this analysis is right, but allow me (actually, you can't stop me)
to repeat a
fear I expressed here last year: that gamma bursts are muzzle
flashes, "the emission lines of horrific weapons being used by
civilizations that have acquired fantastic knowledge compared to us, but
no additional wisdom." The standard pop-cultural assumption is that
advanced aliens will be benevolent, freed of primitive belligerence.
What if instead space aliens are at the Henry Kissinger level of
development in terms of morality -- but equipped with star drive and
gamma bombs? It just seems spooky as if we might be observing the
evidence of distant combat using weapons of cataclysmic power.
Sweet Drive of the Week (Deuce Succeeded): Trailing the defending
champions 28-20 with 6:08 remaining, Atlanta took over on its own 38 and
rather than go pass-wacky, staged a balanced purist drive of four passes
and four runs for the touchdown. On the deuce try at 3:32, wide receiver
Brian Finneran lined up by himself left; came in motion right; did a
spin motion left, and ran the fade-lob route for two points. At
6-foot-5, Finneran is a likely target in this situation. But all that
spinning seemed to make the Flying Elvii confused about where he was
Sweet Drive of the Week (Deuce Failed): Trailing host Denver
21-13 with 4:37 remaining, Washington took possession on its 6, a very
long way from pay dirt in one of the league's hardest places for a
visitor to win: 5,280 feet and steady rain to boot. The Redskins staged
a 13-play, 94-yard touchdown drive -- 16 snaps counting plays wiped out
by penalties -- to make the count 21-19 with 1:15 on the scoreboard
clock. Now it's time for the deuce try. During much of the game and
nearly all of the fourth quarter, Skins' quarterback Mark Brunell had
been rolling out left; a leftie, he is more effective rolling left than
right. On the deuce attempt, Brunell faked a handoff for a sweep right,
then once again rolled out left. But the Nanticokes had only rushed or
rolled around right end once in the entire fourth quarter; with almost
every play going left, who was going to fall for a play-fake here? Not
Broncos linebacker Ian Gold, who knocked down Brunell's pass, sealing
the Denver victory.
Retired Broadcaster Watch: On Shawn Bryson's 77-yard touchdown
run against Baltimore, retired broadcaster Deion Sanders was three yards
behind Bryson for most of the run, and never caught him. I can't write
as fast as I used to, either.
Best Blocks: Special teams account for one-third of yardage;
special-teams blocking can be just as important as offensive-line play.
On Chris Johnson's 99-yard kickoff return touchdown for St. Louis, wedge
blocking was so good that Johnson ran untouched for his six. It's pretty
fun to run 99 yards when everyone in front of you has already been
knocked to the ground. Later in the contest, Seattle leading 27-21, the
Blue Men Group faced third-and-2 on Die Morgenmuffel's 18. Toss left;
Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson and Mack Strong all made clock-cleaner
blocks; Shaun Alexander wasn't touched by a defender until he reached
the St. Louis 2, where he bowled over a man for the touchdown that
proved the winning margin.
Worst Blocks: Houston's 27 sacks allowed in four games project to
108 on the season, which would break the record for sacks allowed -- 104
by Philadelphia in 1986. It's a wonder David Carr can even walk, he gets
hammered so much. Let me
reiterate a point from my AFC preview -- given the Houston offensive
line was awful in 2004, how could Texans management have taken no
significant step to improve the line before 2005?
The Pulitzer Prize Judges Always Go for the Phrase "First of a
Series": Recently, Washington Post staffer Libby
Copeland wrote about the fad for affluent young women spending $200 or
more per pair on jeans that have been elaborately engineered to
make the butt more appealing. Now, certainly, appealing female
behinds are a noble objective. But consider the line above Copeland's
article: "First of two parts." It was a two-part series
about young women trying to make their butts more appealing.
The Football Gods Chortled: With New England leading 14-10 with
six seconds remaining in the first half, Atlanta let punter Michael
Koenen attempt a 58-yard field goal, which missed. But wait! Flying
Elvii linebacker Mike Vrabel called timeout an instant before the snap,
trying to ice Koenen. Officials ruled the timeout valid and let Atlanta
try again; this time Koenen nailed it. Maybe in the era of global
warming, icing the kicker won't work!
In the Spirit of Marianne, Olympic Beach Volleyball Should Be Topless:
France failed in its bid for the 2012 Olympics after that deft political
genius Jacques Chirac declared Finland's food the worst in the world --
saying this on the eve of the vote by the International Olympic
which has two Finnish members. Tuesday Morning Quarterback regrets
one thing about the failed Paris bid -- the city's proposal included
holding the bikini beach volleyball competition at the Eiffel Tower. The
sight of thousands crowding the Eiffel Tower grounds to gawk at
string-bikini volleyball babes would have been a humor highlight. And
remember, in France they say that if a woman wears something revealing,
you are insulting her if you don't look!
Why Are You Kicking???????: Trailing 14-9, City of Tampa faced
fourth-and-4 on the Jersey/B 12 with 4:05 remaining. In trotted the
field-goal unit. "Has to be a fake," I thought. TMQ's immutable law
holds, Kick Early Go For It Late. Now it's late -- go for it! Going for
it here might result in the touchdown that wins the game; going and
failing pins the low-voltage Jets offense against its goal line. Instead
Jon "Once I Was A Teenaged Coach" Gruden ordered a mincing fraidy-cat
field goal. When the Buccaneers got the ball back, there was just a
minute remaining, they were on their 12-yard line and out of timeouts;
one minute later, they were no longer undefeated.
Why Are You Kicking??????? No. 2: Trailing Indianapolis 14-0
midway through the third, San Francisco faced fourth-and-4 on the Colts'
12. In trotted the field-goal unit. You're down by two touchdowns in the
second half against an undefeated team, what good does it do to cut the
lead to 14-3? The average NFL play gains more than four yards, odds are
you will make the first down! To reverse a team's losing mindset, the
coach must challenge the players to win, not launch mincing field-goal
attempts when way behind! Plus you're 3-17 since the start of last
season, what have you got to lose? And now you are 3-18.
Why Are You Kicking??????? No. 3: Trailing 17-0, Philadelphia had
fourth-and-goal on the Cowboys' 5. In trotted the field-goal unit. Going
for it might result in a touchdown that changes the flow of the game;
going and failing pins Dallas against its goal line, and the Eagles have
a stout defense. What was accomplished by cutting the score to 17-3?
Nothing, other than signaling Philadelphia players their coaches had
quit on the game. The mainly first-rate Eagles seem to play one game
each year where they don't even try -- remember last season's 27-3
sleepwalk loss at Pittsburgh? Philadelphia fans had best hope the
Nesharim have now gotten this out of their systems for 2005.
At Least Black Holes Can't Be Used As Weapons -- We Think…:
Tuesday Morning Quarterback once asked an astronomer, "Do black holes
come in other colors?" It turns out the answer is yes! Harvard theorists
Avery Broderick and Avi Loeb proposed last week that glowing gas on the
boundary of black holes could provide illumination of the area where
here is their computer simulation.
Should 535 People Go to Jail?: Several top executives of
corporations have been convicted or forced to resign for stock and
accounting fraud, for among other things manipulating the reporting of
revenue and expenses in order to cause profits to be booked on the dates
that benefited their bonuses and stock options. This sort of thing can
be a crime and always bespeaks lack of character -- the leading problem
in America's corporate boardrooms. But bear in mind that manipulating
financial reporting dates is standard operating procedure for the United
States Congress. The federal government's fiscal year began Oct. 1, and
Congress has enacted only two of the 11 spending bills required by law
for that date. This is the ninth consecutive year Congress has failed to
enact budget bills by the legal deadline. Plus, in almost every recent
federal budget, Congress has slightly altered dates -- usually delaying
payments due in one fiscal year until the first day of the subsequent
year -- to make the deficit seem smaller, or accomplish some other
bookkeeping gimmickry. Arthur Anderson was a model of accountability
compared to the House and Senate.
Wacky Food of the Week:
Charlie Palmer Steak House on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
offers a lobster-filled corn dog with black truffle sauce -- $9 each at
the bar. Charlie Palmer is a favorite hangout of the very lawmakers who
annually fudge the accounting of the federal budget. At the restaurant,
a steak is $36 ala carte, vegetables and potatoes bring the main course
alone to $50; dinner for two with cocktails, wine and tip easily runs
$250. Members of Congress cannot possibly afford this on their public
salaries, so which lobbyists are paying?
NFL in Iran Update: On Sunday,
Middle East TV beamed the day's headliner game -- New England at
Atlanta -- to Iran. Did our nation's capital see this contest?
Washington, D.C., was treated to Baltimore at Detroit -- and the local
CBS affiliate, which could have switched to New England at Atlanta after
Baltimore-Detroit became a blowout, stayed with every last tedious snap
even as the fantastic Patriots-Falcons contest was going down to the
final seconds. Once again, Iran saw a better NFL game than was shown in
our nation's capital.
NFL in Kuwait Update: Reader Nawaf Al-Rudaini of Kuwait reports
that Showtime beamed the New England at Atlanta contest to Kuwait,
kicking off live at 8 p.m. Saudi Arabia time. So Kuwait also saw a
better NFL game than was shown in our nation's capital.
Running Items Department
Obscure College Score of the Week: Muhlenberg 20, Dickinson 2.
The Red Devils' faithful lament -- if only we'd gotten 10 more safeties!
Located in Carlisle, Pa., Dickinson College
lists 29 administrative offices.
Bonus Obscure College Score: Concordia of Wisconsin 60, Concordia
of Illinois 0. Not much brotherly love shown between these affiliated
Christian schools. Located in Mequon, Wis., Concordia of Wisconsin
features "campus buildings
connected by 3.5 miles of indoor walkways". Go to college and never