If I owned an NFL team…
So now that I’ve finally got time to give this little project some attention, football season is coming to a close (thanks, finals!). Major, major bummer.
So much has happened: We learned that Antonio Cromartie of the Jets not only has EIGHT kids but he can’t even name them all. We’re witnessing the possible rebirth of the Patriots domination of the league. We saw a God become a man in Peyton Manning. We were all privy to Spygate 2.0 and the dirtiest tripping play ever caught on camera. Redemption (?) for Michael Vick. Sex scandals galore (one legit, one… not so legit). The end of an era in Favre’s (most-likely) career-ending injury.
It’s been an interesting year, to say the least. With all of the trials and tribulations that each team has gone through and given its fans over the last several months, it’s only natural that in retrospect a sports lover like myself is left wondering… “What if?” So I leave with you my thoughts on a few particular teams who’ve left impressions on me over the regular season.
If I owned…
… the Jets: I would take a hard look in the mirror. I know Rex likes to play things fast and loose, but I’m thinking it’s time for my team to (in Rex Ryan fashion) grow the @#$% up. There’s some saying out there about being your kids’ parent and not their friend. Well it’s time for Rex Ryan to stop being these guys’ friend and be their coach. We’ve been sort of a back-handed joke in the league after Hard Knocks, and that was all fine and good back when I thought we could back up all of our shit-talk. Now, I’ve got a mediocre team who is luckily not doing as badly as they probably should be and the dirtiest sideline ever known. I don’t know who’s decision it was not to fire Sal Alosi, but they should be fired for not firing him. What that man did was disgraceful, disgusting, shameful, inexcusable and it has tainted what was left of the dignity and respect this team had this season. He could’ve ended Nolan Carroll’s career. What then? “Oh I’m sorry, here’s 50 grand”? While the decision to bring him back next season is still up in the air, if my organization doesn’t end up ridding themselves of this stain? Heads will roll.
… the Bengals: I would accept the fact that I have no flipping idea what’s going on or how to fix this team. Then again, am I really surprised? Did I not bring this upon myself for bringing in Terrell Owens who seems to be some sort of a deadly virus for any team that he plays for? I mean, to be honest, I’m starting to feel bad for the guy, because he has the potential to be a massive threat. Ochocinco seems more preoccupied with being on the next Dancing with the Stars than he is playing consistently for my team. But I admit it would be unfair to blame it all on these two. My team is far from being a contender regardless of how its receivers perform. Time to start making some big moves.
… the Titans: I would choose Jeff Fisher over Vince Young any day if I had to (although I secretly wish Vince Young would just grow up and play to his potential). I’m not saying Jeff Fisher is the greatest coach in the world, but immature, bratty quarterbacks are something I just refuse to tolerate. Especially, if you’re not taking me to the playoffs. I pay you ungodly amounts of money to be a man, lead my team and win.
She-who-will-not-be-named once wrote that if Vince Young were Brett Favre (i.e., if he were white, and not black) we’d be calling him a hero for wanting to play with an injured thumb. I seriously owe you a punch in the face for a comment like that. I don’t care if you’re purple with green spots, if you abandon our team in their time of need by throwing a hissy-fit on national TV in front of thousands of people, storming out of the stadium mid-game and then apologizing via a text message; you are not a man… especially not one I want representing my team. You are a child. And my organization can’t be bothered with worrying about when you’ll throw your next tantrum. I’ve only got 2 more years with Chris Johnson before he becomes a free agent. I need to start worrying about giving him an incentive to stay.
… the Vikings: I would be grateful for the chance to have had Brett Favre leading my team and feel good about next season. We were doomed to fail this season – it was no one’s fault and if it was anyone’s fault it wasn’t my players. Sydney Rice was key to our success last year because his otherworldly chemistry with Favre opened up the run game for AP and made our offense dynamic and unpredictable. Percy Harvin, plagued by migraine headaches which also hurt us, put forth an admirable effort, but did not even come CLOSE to Rice’s 2009 numbers. Favre’s passing numbers were nearly cut in half this season without Rice. Without the threat of the passing game, our offense was ripe for the picking (literally). Chilly needed to go. I mean, I don’t know how you can argue with that. I’m not an idiot, getting rid of Brett Favre mid-season despite the lackluster performance with no viable backup (sorry, Tavaris) would’ve been disastrous. Chilly was causing unrest amongst my players, some even candidly admitted “hating” him. When one player has a beef, I tell them to get over it and try to work it out on their own time. When a good chunk of my players take issue, it’s time to figure out what’s going on and make a change. You cannot expect to win if the players and the coaches don’t at least have each others’ respect and that wasn’t happening with Childress.
Next season, while I don’t expect drastic improvement, I do expect at least a little in comparison with this season. I look forward to seeing what Leslie Frazier can do with my team and a fresh (hopefully healthy) offense.
… the Packers: I wouldn’t start Aaron Rodgers against the Patriots. What am I insane? Why would I even consider it? It’s one game, a game we can kind of afford to lose and it’s a game that we’ll probably lose anyway. Sure, the Pats defense isn’t stellar but I’m not sure I want to take the risk. Knowing he’s weak, who do you think they’ll be gunning for? Rodgers is my golden boy and I need him to be healthy for many years to come and in the short term, the playoffs. Fresh off of his second concussion and I need to start being worried. I don’t even care if he’s cleared to play, another week of rest would make me feel a lot better about putting him out there against a team who isn’t the Patriots.
… the Browns: Peyton Hillis, you’ve made us relevant again and I salute your beastly running attack. I’ll excuse your fumbling because we’ve asked you to carry the ball a whopping 238 times for over 1,000 yds this season – an amount that no one on our staff could’ve ever predicted you’d accomplish – and the fact that you’ve only lost 8 with 5 of those being turnovers is somehow okay by me. And if anyone gives you crap about that, you tell them to come see me. That is all.
… the Patriots: I’d feel pretty freaking good right now. Brady is back. My offensive line is back. My defense is (sort of on its way) back. We’re the only team in the entire league to have already clinched a playoff berth. We almost look like the team we did 5 years ago. Enough said. Other teams should be afraid… be very afraid.
… the Eagles: I would be thankful for Michael Vick saving my team. You can hate him for what he did, and I can understand that. But you cannot ignore the sheer awesomeness of what he has accomplished. This man was away from the game for TWO YEARS. Sure, playing football is like riding a bike, but almost the entire free-world expected some distance between the time he came back and the time he might become successful again. No human being should ever come back from two years away from the most violent and physical game on the planet and be able to do what he’s doing right now. It’s as if he never left, and Andy Reid is bowing down to the football gods for blessing him with such an offensive asset.
… the Ravens: I’d be hoarse from screaming, “WHY ARE WE NOT UTILIZING ANQUAN BOLDIN MORE?!” Good God, people. He’s only our best receiver. What is with this new and unfounded faith in Houshmandzadeh? Does John Harbaugh think he’s cute or something? Snap out of it, John. He’s good, but he’s not BOLDIN good. Flacco has history with Boldin. Good history. Why we’re choosing not to capitalize on that offensive relationship, I have no clue.
Also, for a team who’s known to have a killer defense, I’m starting to become a little frustrated with our lack thereof. How many more overtime games are we going to allow, guys? How many huge leads are we going to blow? Ray Lewis needs to stop making Old Spice commercials and start making sacks because Suggs is putting him to shame and last minute offensive drives due to lack of pressure on the QB are what’s killing us.
… the Cowboys: I would seriously (seriously) be watching Kitna vs. Romo in the off season. Kitna’s not the best QB in the league, but let’s be honest here neither is Romo. I’m tired of everyone, including my ownership, talking about Romo like he’s the reincarnation of Johnny Unitas. What has he done? He’s been here – the most valuable franchise in the NFL – 4 seasons and has not won a single playoff game and has the reputation of a choke-artist.
Under Romo, we were 1-5 this season. Under Kitna we’re 3-4 with 2 of those wins being against the Giants and the Colts. While I think if he’s healthy, he’ll start, if I were Romo I would start sweating… if only just a little bit.
… the Saints: Who Dat? That’s my team not leaving an impression on anyone. Yeah, we’re 10-3 and I’m happy about that. But we are barely beating teams during the regular season that a reigning Super Bowl champion who’s made virtually no roster changes since then should be annihilating. Insert the obligatory “a win is a win” statement, sure. But a half-assed justification for our mediocre, I-can’t-believe-we’re-where-we-are play is not going to carry us through the playoffs against a team like the Patriots. No sir. Then again, one of the Patriots’ only seasons losses was to the Jets so… perhaps there is a sliver of hope.
… the Texans: I’d start making animal sacrifices, hire a voodoo priestess and praying to Jeebus. I’m not sure anyone knows how to fix this club. I know a lot of the fans think it’s the coaching, and that might be true. But then why are we so successful stats-wise in the 2nd half? Being a 2nd half team would be fine if we could close, but we can’t and I’m not sure if that’s a coaching issue or a player issue… or worse, both. I do think that Frank Bush needs seek work elsewhere because no one can deny that our Defense needs a defibrillator. We are the most heartbreakingly bad team who wants so badly to prove ourselves. I think it has become pretty apparent that we are capable of greatness considering the 2nd half comebacks this year have been nothing short of miraculous. Although, why we choose to wait until the last minute to bring out the big guns is beyond pretty much anyone’s comprehension. I’m not sure how much longer the fans and I can tolerate our hearts being ripped out Indiana-Jones-and-the-Temple-of-Doom style on a weekly basis. Not to mention the painstaking realization that we will go yet another year without making the playoffs.
I do know one solution that is looking pretty good right now: Bill Cowher (He should coach us. Bill Cowher should be in Houston. Billie-C. Bill Cowher. Did I mention BILL COWHER?!). If I’m not throwing all I’ve got at Bill to get him here by the end of the season, consider my organization deserving of what it’s been enduring – continuous ridicule and losing seasons.
… ESPN: I’d fire Jamele Hill. Seriously, who’s idea was it to allow this woman to write and be on national TV? I don’t think ESPN stands for “garbage journalism” and moronic arguments. Seriously, if Jackie MacMullen had a grave (god forbid), she’d be rolling over in it. It’s time to go, Jamele. It’s time to go.
… the Heat: I’d still be pissed that I spent all this money on “the big 3 (2.0)”. Who’s idea was this? Pat Riley? You should know better. I don’t care that we’ve won 9 straight. 6 of those 9 teams were horrendous teams with equally horrendous records and should have been easy wins for any halfway decent team. We have no bench, can afford zero injuries, and own 3 players who don’t know how to share floor time. Last time I checked it took about 7 or 8 guys to win a championship, not 3.
(Alright, tangents are starting to surface so I think it might be time for a breather)
In the end, the season is not entirely over and I cannot wait to lay on my couch with my fleece blanket, eating queso con carne and watching every second of the post season to see what’s in store. Thank you, NFL network, ESPN and ABC. You’re all the Christmas cheer I need this year.