Hangover: The significance of NFL victories

A win is a win, right?

Eh. Not really. At least not in Week 1 of the NFL season. A win has different significance and meanings for every team.

The Jets’ win silences Mark Sanchez’s doubters and proves the wisdom of the team’s two-quarterback system. Right up until next Sunday, when Sanchez throws his first bad pass.

For the Broncos, a win over the Steelers in prime time means they are suddenly a Super Bowl contender in the AFC. And Peyton Manning’s outstanding performance means a year’s worth of pent-up Peyton Manning media love will be unleashed. It also means Eli Manning, seven months removed from his second Super Bowl ring, is now overshadowed by the Jets’ starter, the Jets’ backup and his brother.

The Eagles’ win was a definite loss-like substance. The only reason it wasn’t an actual loss is because Brandon Weeden was terrible, Cleveland linebacker L.J. Fort let an easy, game-ending interception go through his hands and, in general, the Browns are the Browns. Cleveland Browns football: We’re so bad that even when you beat us, everyone will think your head coach and quarterback should be replaced immediately.

San Francisco’s win at Green Bay was not just a win, but a statement that it might be the best team in the NFC. The victory also reaffirmed the strength and motivation provided by athlete delusion. “You turn on the TV or you hear people say, 'No, the Packers are going to beat them by two or three touchdowns,' and you hear everybody saying all this and that,” 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said after the game, responding to things no one anywhere ever said except maybe on the fake TV Willis watches in his mind.

Minnesota’s comeback win over Jacksonville was an example that a win is sometimes worse than a loss. The Jaguars and Vikings should be near the bottom of the NFL pile all season long, and now the Vikings lose a tiebreaker to Jacksonville when it comes to 2013 draft position. Way to screw up the future of your franchise by winning, Vikings.

Arizona’s win over the Seahawks was far more than a win. If the Seahawks had won after the replacement refs had given them an extra timeout, Roger Goodell would be facing a lot more pressure today to bring back Ed Hochuli and friends. As a token of his gratitude, the Cardinals can expect a gift certificate from the commissioner worth the value of one fine.

The wins by New England and Houston proved the wisdom of those who slated them as AFC playoff contenders, as well as the wisdom of those who spent high fantasy picks on Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster.

Victories by Chicago and Detroit did little more than suggest that the Colts and Rams again will be awful.

Atlanta’s win meant maybe the Falcons weren’t insane to make Julio Jones almost their entire 2011 draft.

The Buccaneers’ win over the Panthers reminded us that advertising often can be full of lies.


Quote of the Week

“Women are more honest and fair than men and they know how to catch a man cheating.” –- Steelers linebacker Larry Foote on Shannon Eastin, the first female official in an NFL regular-season game

Interesting opinion. I’m not sure catching a man cheating is the same in football as it is in relationships, however. Although maybe it’s all semantics. What is sleeping with another woman if not a neutral-zone infraction?

Stat of the Week

56/30: That was Philadelphia’s pass-run ratio or, as Andy Reid might call it: their pass-to-busted-play ratio. LeSean McCoy has to feel pretty good, though. A five-year, $45 million contract to be a professional decoy is good work if you can get it.

Misleading Stat of the Week

195: The Bills dominated the Jets on the ground, outrushing them 195 yards to 118. Watch out for the Bills.

This Week’s Horrible Fantasy Team That Crushed Your Fantasy Team

Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets – 19-for-27, 266 yards, 3 TD, INT

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills – 194 total yards, TD

Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins – 28 carries, 96 yards, 2 TD

Kevin Ogletree, WR, Cowboys – 8 catches, 114 yards, 2 TD

Stephen Hill, WR, Jets – 5 catches, 89 yards, 2 TD

Scott Chandler, TE, Bills – 4 catches, 38 yards, TD

Photos of the Week

“I can’t believe we didn’t draft RG3.”

“He said to give him a minute because his brain is telling him something.”

“I am my own best receiver.”


“I’m getting too old for this ####.”

“I’d say ‘Maybe I’ll see you down the road,’ but there’s obviously no way either of us are making the Super Bowl.”

“Hey, you two! Stop acting like a bunch of whiny little girls.”

“Since you’re mangled and disgusting now, tell your wife to give me a call.”

“So I’m not cut for at least another week, right?”

“On the bright side, our fantasy teams will be good.”

“Hey! Stop ignoring me! I’m your coach!”


“OK, what if we paid each other with, like, Bitcoins or something? Would that be allowed?”

“Whoa, Mark. We don’t have that kind of relationship.”

“As though playing for this team isn’t degrading enough, they make me sit over here.”

“Who am I? Ask RG1 or 2.”

“Please, God, don’t let the media go overboard with coverage of this guy here. We beg you, God.”

“Come on. You can do this. Don’t bounce it at his feet.”

“Follow me! To ... something!”

“OK, say something other than 'Cheese!' for a change!”

“I’m new to this league, but I gather your team is pretty bad, huh?”


“Glad you’re here. It’s an honor to be your assistant coach.”

News Conference Questions Someone Should Have Asked

Aaron Kromer: “After a loss like this, do you wonder if your time is short as head coach?”

Chuck Pagano: “How many decades will the decision to pick Andrew Luck instead of Robert Griffin III set back your franchise?”

Jim Schwartz: “You play the 49ers and Jim Harbaugh next week. Have you done anything to increase your hand strength or make your hands not quite as sensitive?”

Reader Twitter Question of the Week

When/if the referee lockout ends, Hochuli and friends will need a few weeks to work off the rust. But they won’t have that. They’ll be thrown right onto the field and for a Sunday or two, or maybe more, will be worse than the improving replacement refs we currently have. So even if a deal is struck today, it will be October before we see normal levels of referee competence. Good job, Roger Goodell.

But I guess I didn’t really answer your question. Zero. Zero grace period. Because complaining about referees and blaming them for all that is wrong with your favorite team is a major part of being an NFL fan. In fact, maybe we should be thanking Goodell for giving us more to complain about and blame. I mean, the referees will be responsible for 16 losses this week. Ask anyone.

5 Things I Think I Think I Might Think

1. Remember: He is Tom Brady, you are not. He is a fashion icon, you are not. He can get away with wearing a white facial bandage after Labor Day, you cannot. (You have to go with a beige bandage or darker, I guess.)

2. In the hyperpoliticized atmosphere of a presidential election year, don’t be surprised if Brandon Weeden getting trapped under a giant American flag before the Browns’ game works its way into a political ad – especially because Weeden plays in the swing state of Ohio.

Republican ad using Weeden footage: “Under Barack Obama’s leadership, the U.S. government has grown too large and is stifling American ingenuity."

Democratic ad using Weeden footage: “A Romney-Ryan administration would destroy Medicare and cut off old people like Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden.”

3. Maybe Chris Johnson should give track a try.

4. Vernon Davis embarrassingly clanked a post-touchdown crossbar dunk. Why? Probably because Davis did not play college basketball. Did you know that some NFL tight ends did play college basketball? It’s true. For example, Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham. Why does no one ever mention this? It’s interesting.

5. Rating the other rookie quarterbacks on a scale of 1 to 3 RGs.

Andrew Luck: RG2

Russell Wilson: RG2

Ryan Tannehill: RG1

Brandon Weeden: It’s offensive to even use those sacred football letters in the same sentence as him.