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This cracked me up as The Sports Guy hit the nail on the head about Easterbrook.
22. San Francisco 49ers
Don't be surprised if Matt Cassel lands with the 49ers in the offseason.
Here's my wild theory: The Patriots will franchise Matt Cassel in fear that Tom Brady might not make it back in time for the 2009 season. By mid-July, when it becomes clear Brady is fine, Cassel quietly will go on the market … and, of course, the Niners will be sitting there waiting for him. As soon as Cassel becomes available, San Fran will toss the Pats a 2010 No. 1 and a 2011 No. 2, then rip up his contract and give him something like $55 million for seven years with a $24 million signing bonus. Everybody wins. Well, until Gregg Easterbrook follows that sequence with an 8,500-word column about the Pats cheating the system again and suggests Bill Belichick should be thrown in a maximum security prison and tortured until he admits his sins and we can ban him from football once and for all.
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I'd been losing respect for Simmons for about the last 4-5 years as he became less and less Boston, and more and more annoying, but that is a pretty classic verbal beating right there on a co-worker. Well done, Sports Guy.
Um, how many times do the Pats come up in this article? A lot...
This is a very good, but sadly unchangeable, point:
As a football fan, I don't know which AFC West contender becoming a playoff team would offend me more. … At gunpoint, I guess I'd go with the Chargers, since Philip Rivers said after the comeback in K.C., "I know we are 6-8, but that win said a lot about the character of our team." He's right -- laying a stinkbomb for 55 minutes, then being handed the game by an abominably coached team says a lot. Just know that if a gutty 11-5 Pats team is forced to sit out the playoffs because NFL rules demand that one of these two crappy AFC West teams be included, I'm sending a special homemade batch of holiday turd egg nog to the NFL offices with the note "ATTN: Roger Goodell." Damn it all.
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One of Bill's best in years. It seems that after his power struggle with ESPN, he has a bit more leeway. Before, his editors would never have allowed that to slip through. Glad finally Bill can say his mind.
Pretty good power poll. Tough to argue with. And his analysis of Colts/Steelers as 1a & 1b is spot on. (Esp. love the dig at the end. )
I can't choose between them, and here's why: Remember the scene in "Rain Man" when Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman catch fire at the blackjack table, and there's that one hand when Cruise gets blackjack, raises his hands happily, then does the incredulous Cruise laugh for a few seconds? That's the Steelers and the Colts right now. They're winning every conceivable type of hand and catching every break, and after a while, you start waiting for their coaches (Tony Dungy and Mike Tomlin) to raise their hands happily and do the Incredulous Cruise Laugh. I thought for sure Dungy would dust it off Thursday night when David Garrard threw the game-ending TAINT out of nowhere to Keiwan Ratliff. Didn't happen.
Luck is a major part of football, whether we like to admit it or not … but at the same time, you make your own luck to a certain degree. With Jacksonville frantically trying to tie Thursday's game in the final seconds, Maurice Jones-Drew got racked by two Colts on a screen pass and couldn't get up, leading to a 10-second run-off and Jones-Drew being removed from the game. That was a classic part-luck/part-skill moment. But when Dwight Freeney finished off the Jags by demolishing their left tackle and sacking Garrard to end the game, that was just skill and talent. The best teams take advantage of every opening they're given. And if winning football is a mixture of making plays, not making mistakes and getting a sprinkle of good fortune at the right times, you can't do it any better than Indy and Pittsburgh have been doing it lately.
Just remember, if they meet in the playoffs -- and odds are, they will -- there will be only one horseshoe available.