32. Carolina Panthers (2-12) - Previously: #32 - I'm disgusted with Carolina's effort. Sure, throw your entire future away for a meaningless win over the Cardinals. Great job.
I'll address this further in the Bengals capsule, so here are my thoughts on the Bears-Vikings game:
1. This wasn't really much of a game, with all of the drama coming before kickoff. Despite Brett Favre ruling himself out on Saturday, Favre made a surprise start. My reaction on the forum: "****. Favre will start. ****ing *******. I wanted to see Joe Webb."
Favre was TKOed early, and Webb sucked. He had a great 13-yard touchdown run and made a couple of solid throws, but the Bears picked him off twice as he telegraphed some of his passes. Webb went 15-of-26 for 129 yards and two interceptions with 38 rushing yards.
2. The other reason I was angry was because I knew that Favre's surprise start would prompt a massive orgasm by ESPN. If you were fortunate enough to miss this telecast, here's what it sounded like:
OMG OMG FAVRE OMG OMG SNOW COLD FAVRE OMG OMG OMG BRETT FAVRE OMG OMG OMG FAVRE LOVES TO COMPETE OMG OMG OMG WIND OMG COLD OMG SNOW OMG OMG OMG FAVRE IS THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR OMG OMG OMG OMG.
3. While Favre screwed over the ESPN viewers, Adrian Peterson screwed over his fantasy owners. Peterson was a late scratch, possibly costing tens of thousands of fantasy players a semi-final victory.
4. The Bears looked awesome, but some of that was Minnesota's sorry emotional state. The Vikings had absolutely no energy, as they were robbed of yet another home game. But Chicago deserves a ton of credit. Jay Cutler (14-24, 194 yards, 3 TDs, INT) was terrific for most of the night, though he threw a pick and tossed a horrible second interception that was wiped out by a penalty.
5. Congrats to Devin Hester, who set the NFL record for most career punt and kickoff return touchdowns with 14. Hester nearly had a 15th, but was tackled inside the 10-yard line.
6. Even aside from all the Favre a**-kissing, Jon Gruden was horrible. He made three factual errors, and it's pretty apparent that he's mailing it in because he knows he'll be coaching next year.
First, Gruden said that the Vikings played the Lions last week. They took on the Giants.
Second, Gruden called Johnny Knox "Kevin Knox." I'll be calling Johnny Knox "Kevin Knox" going forward.
And third, Gruden said that they call Flozell Adams "The House." It's "The Hotel," Gruden. Clearly you've never landed on Boardwalk in Monopoly, or you'd know the difference.
31. Denver Broncos (3-11) - Previously: #31 - How can anyone think Tim Tebow will possibly fail in the NFL? Not only does he have the heart of a champion; he also has God on his side. Tebow was awesome in his debut.
Funny e-mail from David H. featuring a quote regarding the quarterback that Tebow displaced:
Just read your Jon Gruden quotes. He (and Jaws to a lesser extent) is terrible, especially after watching the best team in the biz, Michaels and Collinsworth, do their thing the night before. Anyhow, Gruden had one of the greatest quotes during the Denver/San Diego game a few weeks back.
In reference to Orton piling up garbage time yards, he said "Meaningless yards mean nothing." Gee, thanks for the insight, coach. I suppose he thinks fat chicks are overweight too.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (3-11) - Previously: #30 - I want to bring up an interesting e-mail from Fernando G:
I find your opinions on football both fun and informative, but there is a thing that bothers me, and it's expressed in this paragraph: "In the wake of Carolina beating Arizona, a Bengals loss would have given them the inside track on the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Instead, the they foolishly won this game, making it highly unlikely that they will land Andrew Luck."
Foolishly won? The day I see a team take a fall for a better pick at the draft that would be the day Ill stop watching football all together. I find exciting that teams that are no longer in the playoff race can still destroy the hope and dreams of "better" teams.
Fernando is definitely not alone in this mindset. Chris Berman and Tom Jackson often praise teams for playing hard and winning meaningless games down the stretch.
I, however, think this is the worst possible offense a team can commit. I really don't get how anyone can defend Cincinnati and Carolina's victories. The ultimate goal of any franchise is to win the Super Bowl. If that's the case, what's going to get a team there quicker? A meaningless win over the Browns or Cardinals late in the year, or the ability to land a blue-chip quarterback who is the consensus No. 1 prospect?
You can't say it's not the latter. I understand teams want to win football games, but they are just hurting themselves in the long run. I mean, look at the Boston Celtics, who tanked and thus were able to land the Big Three. Or the Rams, whose futility allowed them to draft Sam Bradford. St. Louis now has the chance to win multiple Super Bowls before the loser of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes ever recovers.
But maybe I'm just crazy. I don't know. I don't think it's right to make your fans watch horrible football all year and then completely derail your future for a win that means absolutely nothing.
29. Arizona Cardinals (4-10) - Previously: #29 - The Adventure of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask continues!
Anderson: Hic... hey mannnnnn, take a sssip ffffrom hic this fffflask.
Jimmy Clausen: Dude, I've been playing drunk all year. I don't need to drink out of your magic flask.
Anderson: Thazzzz whyyy you neeedddd to drinnnkk.
Clausen: Eh, what the hell? Can't hurt, right?
*** Ten minutes later ***
Clausen: Oh my God, I'm sober! I think your magic flask canceled out the alcohol in my system. I'm going to play a great game now and screw Walt out of five units!
28. Seattle Seahawks (6-8) - Previously: #28 - I'd say something about the Seahawks, but e-mailer Mike G. summed Sunday's game up best:
I was surprised in your Seattle-Atlanta recap that you did not blast Matt Hasselbeck enough for being completely inept. The strip sack/ TD recovery by the Fat Babineaux in the end zone was particularly awful. Being the gambler I am, I had Seattle in a 3-team teaser at +16, and that bald turd single-handedly made sure I had no shot at winning some holiday cash.
I never thought I would be happy to see Charlie Whitehurst enter a game. Well, unless I had big money on the opposing team. I guess it is justice that a Pete Carroll-coached team is so disgraceful. He will be coaching college again in two years.
In my defense, I did say that Hasselbeck chugged five of Derek Anderson's magical flasks. I guess that wasn't condemning enough. Fine, 10 flasks.
27. San Francisco 49ers (5-9) - Previously: #23 - I already mentioned why the 49ers lost in the Chargers capsule, so here are more Notes from NFL.com GameCenter (the first from Jeff. E; the third from Brinthan B.):
1. "steelers love big sexual assualting ben"
This is perhaps the worst nickname given to Ben Roethlisberger. Seriously dude, put some effort into it.
2. "harrision should keep dsoing wehat he does and if the nfl is so worried about all these big hit i do think they target and look at harrision morethan anyother player in the nfl because u always see big and dirty hits but harrison it the first one to get called"
Quite sadly, I couldn't agree more with this.
3. "of course the pats have the best record in the nfl THEY PLAYED ONE MORE GAME THEN ALMOST EVERYTEAM moron ur smart let me tell ya pats are junk ur d is garbbbage"
Ah, the key to having success in the NFL is playing one more game "then" almost "everyteam." Bill Belichick is cheating again!
26. Houston Texans (5-9) - Previously: #22 - I guess the novelty of closing the year out well and finishing 8-8 or 9-7 has worn off. The Texans didn't try hard at all Sunday. In fact, instead of beating up the other team, they fought each other.
If you missed it - SportsCenter and NFL Primetime didn't show it - Houston defenders Brian Cushing and Antonio Smith got into a fight, resulting in a 15-yard penalty.
To find out why Cushing and Smith fought each other, I asked them to sit down with me for an interview:
ME: Hey Brian and Antonio, thanks for joining me. Let's get it out in the open. Why did you guys fight yesterday?
CUSHING: "He started it!"
ME: Guys! One at a time. Brian, you first.
CUSHING: "Antonio told me he has pictures that he secretly took of my balls!"
SMITH: "That's only because Brian takes steroids!!!"
ME: Wait, Antonio, you actually have pictures of Brian's balls?
SMITH: "Yeah! Take a look here. These are his balls from high school. Normal size. These are his balls from college. A bit smaller. Now look at them. You can barely see them!"
ME: Dude, I don't want to see this.
CUSHING: "RAWWRRRR I WILL KILL YOU FOR HAVING PICTURES OF MY BALLS!!!"
ME: Brian, Antonio's a weirdo, but that doesn't mean you should beat him up.
CUSHING: "You're right. Sorry guys, I have tears in my eyes. I'm gonna go to my room, write in my journal and cry myself to sleep."
25. Washington Redskins (5-9) - Previously: #24 - I'm at a loss for words. Rex Grossman actually played well on Sunday. Mike Shanahan turned Jake Plummer into a decent quarterback in Denver; maybe he can do the same thing with Grossman. Hey, crazier things have happened. Well, not really.
At any rate, Donovan McNabb is done in Washington, regardless of how Grossman plays the final two weeks. That's what Shanahan told McNabb anyway, when he said, "There's nothing you can do in these last three games that could convince me."
So, Donovan, if you're thinking of kidnapping Shanahan's kids and holding them hostage to get your job back, don't do it. Nothing can convince Shanahan.
24. St. Louis Rams (6-8) - Previously: #17 - You're letting me down, Sam Bradford. I was planning on paying for my unborn children's college education with the money I'd earn betting on you. Two spread losses in a row? For shame.
For those of you who didn't watch the Rams-Chiefs game, CBS color analyst Dan Fouts had a gay moment during a Thomas Jones run:
"Look at those guns on Thomas Jones! And for those of you who don't know what guns are, those are his biceps!"
Not that there's anything wrong with that, Dan.
23. Detroit Lions (4-10) - Previously: #27 - In my NFL Week 15 recap, I wrote that Matt Millen's stench was finally gone from the Lions organization.
As a quick reminder of how truly awful Millen was, here's an e-mail from Adam S., who narrated an actual exchange between Millen and Bob Papa during the San Diego-San Francisco game:
Millen: You see here... I want you to watch this... His shoulder hits the pylon... That's a touchdown!!!
Papa: No, his knee down at the 1-yard line. He's down.
Millen: I want you to watch this, Mike Secretary said he wanted more toughness on the field, and watch Alex Smith, he dives at the pylon and shoulder hit the pilon. BAM, it's a touchdown!!!
Official: The ruling on the filed is reversed. The player was down at the 1-yard line.
Millen: What a great challenge by Norv Turner!!!
This guy is a worse broadcaster than he was general manager of the Lions!!
Hey, say what you want about Millen, but I don't think there has ever been a human being who has sucked at so many things.
2010 NFL Power Rankings: The Rest:
11. Chicago Bears (10-4). Previously: #11
12. Dallas Cowboys (5-9). Previously: #12
13. Indianapolis Colts (8-6). Previously: #13
14. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5). Previously: #15
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6). Previously: #14
16. Oakland Raiders (7-7). Previously: #21
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6). Previously: #18
18. Buffalo Bills (4-10). Previously: #26
19. Cleveland Browns (5-9). Previously: #19
20. Miami Dolphins (7-7). Previously: #20
21. Tennessee Titans (6-8). Previously: #25
22. Minnesota Vikings (5-9). Previously: #16