Everyone has predictions and prognostications for the NFL season. Picking teams and screaming louder than the next guy has become a cottage industry in the media world. But I don't know who's going to win -- don't even care much, to be honest -- and you don't, either. In fact, if your pick turns out to be right, you guessed right, that's all.
So what we need instead of predictions are expectations. Dreams, even.
I want to see a coach go for it on fourth down when every single law of statistical probability is against him.
|"Hmm, fourth and 33 ... we gotta go for it!"|
I want to see a coach enter an overtime period by gathering his team at midfield and saying, "You know what, guys? No field goals. We either score a touchdown or we lose."
I want to see a superstar receiver reach the end zone and then act like he understands there are 10 other guys who helped him get there.
I want to see a big stud linebacker sack the quarterback and let someone else congratulate him before doing it himself.
I want to watch an entire game without hearing an announcer say the words, "His motor's always running."
I want to hear an announcer say, "There's simply no organic possibility for that," when his boothmate says, "Ol' John here, he's a big 'un, weighed 226 at the end of last year and reported to camp this July at 311."
And finally, I want to be there as a coach or player finally erupts when a media member begins an alleged question by saying "Talk about . . . " something or other.
This Week's List
Welcome to Louisville -- more than half the state hates you: Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, in his first game, called a timeout so his team could score a gratuitous touchdown with six seconds left in a blowout win over Kentucky.
Don't know what the electronic geniuses at QuesTec say; but if I'm on the mound, there's one ump I don't want calling my playoff game: Joe Brinkman.
It's almost enough to make me like that Nike kid who talks about racing "your dog, your mama, your auntie …": Are you as sick as I am of that sloppy Comcast dude who talks out of the corner of his sloppy mouth about the Mir Space Station and getting a dish "if you're into sailing"?
Because when Joe Angel gets carried away, he can make "Jose Hernandez" sound like "Aurilio Rodriguez," and none of us has any idea who's standing at the plate: While understanding the importance of getting it right, some baseball announcers seem to be taking their Hispanic pronunciations a little too far.
Look, he was ordering a Nyquil-and-cranberry, so get off his ass: Manny Ramirez, suffering from the dreaded pharyngitis, didn't make it to Fenway for Sunday's semi-important game against the Yankees; but a television report indicates he apparently made it to the Ritz-Carlton bar Saturday night.
The pharynx, as most scholars know, is particularly susceptible to day-time flare-ups: Before Pedro Martinez made pharyngitis fashionable, most Red Sox die-hards never even knew they had a pharynx, and now they come to find out it might cost them their season.
And by the way, let's all put away our medical dictionaries and call our pharyngitis what it is: A sore throat.
Meanwhile, on the other side of misery: Cub fans are busy toiling over their bar graphs depicting Shawn Estes' historic run at a 6.00 ERA.
The place to be, my friend, is Waveland Avenue -- and bring your glove: On Thursday, it's Estes (5.95) vs. Brett Tomko (5.48) at Wrigley Field.
Come to think of it: If Boston fans were as tough as they think they are, they would have booed Clemens off the mound Sunday.
Just for the heck of it: Razor Shines.
It's too long and ridiculous to get into the details; but in case you find yourself fretting over the guest list, here's an easy one: Don't invite Larry Bowa and Tyler Houston to the same postseason barbecue.
Lou's kind of guy: Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Gonzalez, who proved he's no Ben Grieve when he blew a gasket Sunday afternoon and let the whole world know about it.
If you're talking best acquisitions of the season, here's one that has to be at or near the top: Pudge Rodriguez, Marlins.
You see, I was talking to Coach Omnipotent just yesterday afternoon, and he told me this kid is something else, and a great, great person as well: Since when did college broadcasts -- mostly local ones -- turn into one long infomercial for the allegedly-astute observations of the coaches?
And finally, as if the Giants didn't already have enough medical problems: Sidney Ponson doubled Monday afternoon and had to be treated for chafing all the way to the knee.
Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.