Not-So-Quick NFL Quick Takes

    The NFL has never seen three teams at 11-1 or better after the first 12 games of the same regular season----------until this year. The Steelers, Eagles and Pats are those three teams.

    Offense is pretty and defense wins. Best to have both, but lots of teams don’t. Peyton Manning is ripping the league apart, and Indy is leading the AFC in offensive yardage, but they’re dead last in the AFC in defensive yardage. That would explain why they’re 9-3, and not one of those three elite teams.

    KC is right there with Indy. Second in the AFC in offensive yards, and second from the bottom in the AFC in defensive yards. They’re having a very forgettable 4-8 season.

    In the NFC, same story. Minnesota, Green Bay and St. Louis all super offensively in terms of yardage, and leading the NFC. But all three are defensive laggards. Only New Orleans is worse than those three teams defensively.

    The most sought-after college QB, Peyton’s kid brother, manipulated the draft so that he wouldn’t have to play for San Diego and so that he would play for the Giants. Eli’s QB rating with the feeble 5-7 Giants is a joke thus far, with no end in sight. All this while the Chargers are 9-3 and winning the AFC West behind the     brilliant quarterbacking of Drew Brees. There is justice!

    S.D. has to figure out a way to keep Brees and trade rookie QB Rivers in the off-season if the latter’s signing bonus doesn’t impact their salary cap. Half the teams in the NFL will give top draft picks to the Chargers for Rivers, just like the Giants gave them along with Rivers for Manning.

    Still on the subject of QB’s, another rookie is playing like a vet. Big Ben is at the helm of the team that is in the position of controlling its own destiny for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Were it to end today, Pittsburgh’s win over N.E.     earlier would put them there.

    There is a Jones in Dallas more important to that franchise than its owner. The rookie running back is a stud. Speaking of studs, former Cowboy Emmitt Smith is still one this season in Phoenix, on his way to Canton.

Story of the Week


    The feature story this week was going to be "the Immaculate Reception." I put it on hold until February so that I could address a current subject today. Opinions are like rear ends; everybody has one. And I certainly have an opinion about baseball’s steroid problem and the implications presented.

    Ok, so now we know, by his own admission, that Jason Giambi is a fraud of steroidal magnitude. He reversed his testimony of last year before a federal grand jury, and finally admitted to having used steroids for at least three seasons, 2001 through 2003, having obtained the performance-enhancing drugs from Barry Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, one of four men indicted by the grand jury investigating BALCO. Gee whiz, I’m shocked! So what and when will we find out all there is to find out about Bonds, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Gary Sheffield, etc and more etc?

    New info regarding Barry. Seems he took certain substances thinking they were for arthritis. He says he didn’t know they were steroids. There were a few clues:

His hat size jumped from 7¼ to 11¾ long-oval.

The 49rs. considered him at offensive tackle.

One homer he hit in San Francisco landed in Carmel.

He bench-pressed his Hummer.

    I want some of Barry’s "arthritis" medication. I don’t have arthritis, but I do have a particular body part that would be greatly enhanced by it.

    Then there’s one of my favorite comedians, Bud Selig. In answer to Giambi’s disclosure, old "BS" made a dramatic statement. He said that he will do all he can to make certain that a mandatory random year-round steroid testing policy is in effect in MLB before spring training next year. Didn’t he say the same thing a year ago?! There’s one basic problem here; Bud Selig thinks he’s the Commissioner of MLB, but in reality we know that the real Commissioner of MLB is the Players Association.

    Any record that falls as a result of performance-enhancing drugs is a farce, and makes a mockery of the sport "when it was a game" and the great players who made it so back then. I’m a baseball purist, and I find it terribly sad that the power records of Ruth and Maris and Aaron have tumbled and will continue to do so. Bonds is only 52 homers behind Aaron’s career record, and when Barry (and his arthritis medication) sets the record, I can only hope that Henry Aaron stays away from the park and doesn’t glamorize it.

    Ah, for the days when baseball’s biggest problem was George Brett’s performance-enhancing pine-tarred bat! How far baseball has gone since then, and absolutely in the wrong direction!

Last Week’s Trivia

    The first black pitcher in MLB was Dan Bankhead. Later in the same year as Jackie Robinson’s debut, 1947, he pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Unfortunately, Bankhead did not become a household name.

Trivia Question of the Week

    Who is the only person to win both Rookie of the Year and later Coach of the Year in the NBA? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.