Verbal wanderings, from the field to the broadcast booth:
1. Hats off to the Falcons! The new and improved backfield, featuring rookie QB Matt Ryan and RB Michael Turner, looked potent in a sound defeat of the (admittedly) lax Lions. And no dogs were injured in the making of the “W.”
2. The TV networks should be ashamed of themselves for foisting on the American public some of the most grammar-challenged, low-IQ dumbass ex-jocks ever. Jerome Bettis: a really nice guy who actually went to college (Notre Dame) but needs someone to sit down and teach him about the rules of agreement between subjects and predicates. (Singular subjects take singular predicates, Bus. America’s children are watching.) Moron Brian Baldinger: still haunting the airwaves with his Neanderthal grunts and stupid observations.
3. All hail, Brett Favre. He can still throw a monster pass, and the gods have not forsaken him. With the injury to Tom Brady, suddenly the Jets’ chances at a playoff berth seemed to improve. Favre's Green Bay doppelganger, Aaron Rodgers, had a decent opening Monday night game in the Pack's defeat of the Vikings.
4. Sad to see Brady in pain. It didn’t look good. Ditto Vince Young, only in his case, it might be to the Titans’ benefit if he stays on crutches for a while. VY still looked lost in the Titans’ gutty 17-10 win over the Jags, and it was backup Kerry Collins who came in and looked assured running the offense. At this juncture, with a fine defense and a budding new star in RB Chris Johnson, the team might thrive under a veteran dropback QB who still has a decent arm. And, has anybody noticed that Jay Cutler of the Broncos, after a Monday night display of stellar leadership and arm strength, has clearly surpassed Young and Matt Leinart of the Cardinals, both of whom were drafted ahead of him in 2006. To think the Titans had their crack at Cutler, who played right here in Nashville at Vanderbilt. There's a lesson to be learned here: All that glitters is not gold. Spot observation: Vikes QB Tarvaris Jackson—also a 2006 draft choice (#64 overall out of Alabama State)—is further along in his development than Young.
5. Anybody got Daunte Culpepper’s cell number? The former All-Pro called it quits just a few days ago, saying no one was interested in his services. But QBs went down in Tennessee, New England and Kansas City (Brodie Croyle). Apparently, Chris Simms was already on New England’s speed-dial. Now all we need is a Jake Plummer sighting.
6. Big game for Philly’s Donovan McNabb. He sent the Rams reeling, and maybe that big year St. Louis QB Marc Bulger had in 2006 was a mirage.
7. TV executives should also be ashamed of themselves for foisting on the American public some of the most ego-inflated and self-absorbed non-jock announcers and commentators. Keith Olbermann is simply a goon and has no rightful place in our TV-watching lives. Joe Buck almost made it semi-successfully through the Cowboys-Browns broadcast, until for some reason he decided to interject some crap about baseball. (No doubt Joe’s insecure way of reminding us that he’s FOX’s man on the MLB beat, too. Fag.) Said fact-challenged Tony Kornheiser during the second quarter of Monday night's Packers-Vikings game, "Okay. Permit me to state the obvious..." (You always do, Tony. You always do.) Most disappointing was Dan Patrick, who sat in with Bob Costas and Olbercreep on the NBC dais. Dan seemed out of sorts. He left ESPN last year, and has returned on FOX radio with his own show, and is cleverly driving internet traffic to his own website. But what seemed like a cool maverick media move got lost Sunday night amid awkward pauses and a lack of spontaneity. We like Dan, except that Dan apparently likes Olberturd, so perhaps we must reevaluate.
8. The Bears looked very good. Stout defense, a careful Kyle Orton, and a hot new RB named Matt Forte. If they keep this up, they might very well contend for that NFC North title, after all. They soundly defeated the Colts (in Indianapolis), whom we predicted will have trouble this year making the playoffs. So far, so good on that one.
9. Bravo, Jake Delhomme. The Panthers’ QB, back from injury in 2007, threw an incredibly sharp pass into the end zone as time ran out, connecting with little-known second-year man Dante Rosario and defeating the Chargers in San Diego. Big opening victory for John Fox and his Carolina squad, who suddenly look more viable in the NFC South, winning a game most every pundit would’ve counted as a loss before the opening kickoff.
10. That “GU” on the uniforms looked kinda weird. And we’re gonna hafta look at it all the bleepin’ year long. Bad move. They don’t do that when other Hall of Famers die, leaving us only to conclude that Gene Upshaw got the honor because he was the head of the players' union. Now there’s a sensitive notion: "He helped inflate players' already obscene salaries and benefits and also drive up ticket prices for the average fan to unreachable levels. So let's put his initials on our jerseys and look ugly all season." Tasteless is what it is.