(Home of Formal Apologies)
I wish I was like you; Easily amused; Find my nest of salt; Everything is
I was helping two very friendly Carolina Panthers' cheerleaders read about sports in the library when my cell phone rang – a Janet Jackson ringtone – which made Mike Sherman scream at me to have some respect because others want to read about sports and they don't need to be interrupted by a damn cell phone or by the likes of the three of us. I apologized.
I read from Form A, provided by the NFL.
At that, Terrell Owens barged in and apologized for me, reading from a different form entirely, prompting Drew Rosenhaus to apologize with great style for Terrell's apology, and then Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil analyzed my situation with the cheerleaders and told me I had five seconds to go for it so I should. I scored!
And that's my recap of last week, my newest favorite week ever in the NFL. It had everything: one crazy person, a good scolding over manners, sex between cheerleaders, a Cleveland Browns rushing touchdown, and even old Carl Peterson of the Chiefs punching his hand through a glass window when his team won in the last five seconds. Like everyone this week, he apologized.
So consider this as a formal apology. I am wearing a tux. With that mind, here are my picks:
CHIEFS AT BILLS – Empowered by their decision to go for it last week, the Chiefs this week never punt on fourth down. Here's the thing: it works because of Kelly Holcomb (the bad twin) who hardly ever gets in more than three plays in a row in this game. Chiefs 26, Bills 10
49ERS AT BEARS – Cody Pickett is the 49ers starting quarterback. Didn't he write that country standard, "How the hell did I get here?" Meanwhile, quietly it seems that a classic old-time kind of Bears' team is building. Will people soon be saying "Lovie" the way they used to say "Ditka"? Bears 24, 49ers 0
CARDINALS AT LIONS – Before the game, Joey Harrington and Kurt Warner get together for a fun showing of The Deer Hunter, in which prisoners of war are forced to play Russian roulette. After the game, they compare who threw the most interceptions – like bullets into their own careers. Lions 19, Cardinals 17
BYE AT BENGALS – Chad Johnson takes a vow of silence, but then he breaks it in order to explain himself.
TEXANS AT COLTS – David Carr has been hit so many times that he can't walk through high school practice fields because he looks just like a tackling dummy. The Colts are due to lose soon, but not this soon and not to the Texans. Colts 39, Texans 3
RAVENS AT JAGUARS – Byron Leftwich has begun to play like a star while the Ravens hope that Kyle Boller will begin to actually play at all. As Boller enters the field for the first time, Ray Lewis is giving an ethics presentation to Robert Novak when Boller bumps into Novak, prompting his pen, full of poisonous ink, to fall into Ray's coffee. Jaguars 21, Ravens 10
PATRIOTS AT DOLPHINS – Bill Belichick keeps getting stupider and stupider this year proving again that in the NFL, genius is fleeting. Dolphins 24, Patriots 18.
BYE AT SAINTS AT AMERICA – Paul Tagliabue informs the Saints that they were really scheduled for a game, um, somewhere, and since they didn't show up, they are given a loss. NFL one million, SAINTS, negative one million
VIKINGS AT GIANTS – The Vikings game plan for the season has worked perfectly because now there are no expectations. Okay, that explains the boat ride. They did it to lower expectations. Geez, people, chill! And though it appears like Eli is going to be better than Peyton, even Mannings must have down weeks. Vikings 27, Giants 20
JETS AT PANTHERS – Panthers, upon suggestion of cheerleaders, change their name to Panters. And in this game, Broadway Bollinger leads the J-E-T-S to a loss. Jets 27, Panthers 20
BRONCOS AT RAIDERS – The Oakland Raiders of lore are a distant memory as "Just Choke Baby" is not a slogan I remember. Broncos 24, Raiders 23
BYE AT CHARGERS – Marty Schottenheimer, spending another bye week trying to figure out how not to blow it in the playoffs, attends a John Elway motivational speech.
REDSKINS AT BUCCANEERS – Last week, Buccaneers quarterback Chris Simms was sacked five times, lost a fumble and threw two interceptions. What's his coach have to say? "I think he's getting better," Jon Gruden said of Simms. Sometimes coaches write the punch lines. Redskins 30, Buccaneers 14
PACKERS AT FALCONS – There are many people who think that Michael Vick is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Last week was his best passing week – 218 yards. That's how good of a runner he is. As for legendary quarterback, Brett Favre, trying to get his gang of ragamuffins into the end zone is a challenge that has perhaps worn him out. So look for Vick to run like crazy and pass for some while Favre simply tries like hell and that's still fun to watch. Falcons 25, Packers 12
RAMS AT SEAHAWKS – Everyone continues to talk about how no one talks about Shaun Alexander. Seahawks 28, Rams 20
BYE AT TITANS – Jeff Fischer drinks, or prays - or maybe both.
BROWNS AT STEELERS – I once thought that hate is not in my lexicon but I hate the Steelers. Oh, and did I mention that I hate the Steelers? Yes, hate ‘em. In this game, Charlie Batch looks up his career biography and realizes that he is Charlie Batch, and no Steelers fan wants to hear this. That's why I am saying it. On the other side of the ball, the Browns rise to greatness – cleverly disguised as a fight for mediocrity – continues in monotone. I keep waiting for the team to realize that it has Braylon Edwards on the roster. This is the week. Browns 24, Steelers 21
COWBOYS AT EAGLES – In my dream, Terrell Owens is hired as a sideline reporter covering the Eagles. Eagles 23, Cowboys 20
It must be just swell to be an NFL player.
Michael Vick recently said, "I want people to praise me. If I'm winning games, don't criticize me." I agree completely.
I am happy to hear Vick finally say what's been bothering all of us fans about his game. It really wasn't him at all. He just has not been getting enough praise.
This column is sponsored by gravy.
Brian Tarcy lives in Falmouth, MA. He has a website at www.briantarcy.com.