Story of the Week


    With half the regular NFL season gone, there’s enough for me to devote this week’s feature to "quick takes." So here goes:

    The NFL salary cap is a major reason for league parity, and that’s why the NFL is so difficult to predict. Carolina is a shining example; in the Super Bowl last year, and 1-7 so far this season. There are other examples, positive and negative, and there will continue to be, ostensibly because it’s the only major pro sport governed properly as it relates to salary outlay.

    The biggest positive surprise of the year is San Diego. Who’d have "thunk" it? Brees’ timing is perfect; he’s a free agent after this season. I love to ride Coach Marty S., but I have to give credit where it’s due.

    There’s no "D" in K-a-n-s-a-s C-i-t-y. I’d say 211 points against in eight games justifies that statement. That offensive powerhouse, Tampa Bay, rang up 34 against them Sunday, after posting just 109 points in their first seven games.

    The Cleveland Browns’ uniforms were voted best looking NFL threads in Ohio. Why? Because the Cincinnati Bengals play there, too. Suck My Thumb Jr. High School of Shaker Heights, Ohio has better looking uniforms than the Browns. But the Bengals’ uniforms are downright disgraceful. The Cincy players have requested that the team photos be in black-and-white, and no head shots please! Even their mascot looks the other way.

    When bettors put their money down, best they consider the coaches squaring off against each other, but it’s a point I rarely hear discussed. Professor Belichick continues to show you why he’s worth plus-points; non-professorial Martz continues to show you why he’s worth minus-points. Sunday’s match-up between the Pats and the Rams was a piece of work.

    While the Eagles were going 7-0, Owens’ antics were ok with the team, and the honeymoon was beautiful. During their first loss on Sunday, McNabb couldn’t walk away from the head-case fast enough on the sideline. They'll need marriage counseling before the season's over.

    I don’t know if Pittsburgh will be good enough to take the AFC from New England this season, but I do know that Big Ben is the find of the year. Instead of quarterbacking his college team in his senior year or holding a clipboard ala Manipulator Manning is doing in New York, Ben Roethlisberger is leading the Steelers like Bradshaw used to do it. It’s sad but true that they have Maddux’ injury to thank for it.

    As long as we’re on the Pittsburgh subject, Bus Bettis is a load. He ran for 149 yards on Sunday, his biggest day in four years. What impressed me as much was an interview I heard on Monday night radio. The guy is a class act, a super team player, and very articulate. He’s still got game!

    There’s talk that the NFL rules committee will consider outlawing any and all blocks below the waist next year. That means frontals, sides, crack-backs, everything. Finally! I’ve been pitching that for years. That rule, if it happens, will save lots of knees and ankles. And if it does happen, Mike Shanahan’s workload at the Broncos’ pre-season training camp will be cut in half.

    Do you want to know the definition of boredom? I’m glad you asked. It was made painfully clear to me Sunday night as I watched, or tried to watch, the ESPN extravaganza as the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns attempted to play an exciting NFL game. And Joe Theismann and his trio added volumes to the lackluster event; they are positively terrible, and I cleaned that up for you kiddie readers. Art Modell had the most fun at the game; he got confused and cheered for both teams.

    Ricky Williams is a helluva talent, but, unlike Bettis, is one cl-ASS act. He was the guy Mike Ditka traded all of the Saints’ draft picks for. Then he went to the Dolphins for awhile and proceeded to kiss them goodbye 42 minutes before the 2004 season began. Now Dave Wannstedt has been made the scapegoat of the dismal Dolphins. Oh, I neglected to mention that Ricky wants back into the NFL. Well, if I’m Wayne Huizenga, it ain’t gonna be in a Miami uniform. NFL owners, let the bidding begin for this flake.

    I could keep on going, but this is all you paid for!

Last Week’s Trivia

    In 1966, Brian Piccolo’s former Wake Forest teammate, Detroit Lions’ Karl Sweetan, threw a 99-yard TD pass to Pat Studstill.

Trivia Question of the Week

    Many very knowledgeable sports fans e-mail me weekly with their answers to my trivia questions. OK, now let’s see how good you really are. You truly have to know baseball to get this one.

    Three elderly ladies go to the baseball game, and smuggle into the park a bottle of Jack Daniels. They proceed to enjoy both the game and the libation. Soon they realize the bottle is almost empty, and the game has several innings to go. Given this information, what inning is it and how many players are on base? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.