|Ninety-nine thought balloons|
By Ralph Wiley
Page 2 columnist
Great players make great plays
Once, the Jints were beating the Montana Niners at the Meadows, less than a minute left, Jints in pre-vent, special attention (i.e., 2½ guys) paid to the young Jerry Rice. What happened? An 80-yard TD pass right up the gully between right hash and sideline. Nothing the defenders could do to stop it. Big-Time editor, a Jints fan and Niners hater from the Illy, was distraught. "Why couldn't they stop it?" he cried. "They knew it was coming!" Big-Time seemed to be looking to me for answers. All I could come up with was, "Great players make great plays." While it may not be high-octane philosophy, or even original, it is R-Dub's NFL Proverb No. 1.
That, and the following, will have to do it for today:
Jerry Jones, owner, Dallas Cowboys -- (dons shades, folds arms on chest, scowls) "How you like me now!" (Campo's mouth moves)
Junior Seau, LB, San Diego Chargers -- "AIEEEEE! Feed me! Feed me now! I eat rookies and punk QBs and I pick my teeth with their bones! I RULE! What?! Oh, hey, Marty. Discipline? You want disciplined lanes or powdered QBs? That's what I thought."
Doug Brien, PK, Minnesota Vikings -- "Nobody's speaking to me because I missed two XPs and we lost to Buffalo in overtime. I'm not comfortable here anymore. I want to go. They can't fire me. I quit. Let Moss kick if he's so great and everything's a little kicker's fault. Who's that moving my stuff? Gary Anderson? You here already? Like you didn't miss one to cost them a Super Bowl berth!!!! ... at least my wife is there for me. Honey ... Honey?
Jim Fassell, head coach, New York Giants -- "Hee, hee, hee, hee, hee, hee hee! ... hee, hee ... hee ... don't know who lit up Collins' arm; all I can say is -- give him more of whatever or whoever it is! Hell, gimme some too! Uh-oh! Uh-oh! I feel a guarantee coming on! Bring #&@!* Spurrier on! Stop me before I guarantee again!"
Mike Shanahan, head coach, Denver Broncos -- "We were 2-0 last year. I mention it to cover our butts. On my way over to the John Elway retrospective at Pat Bowlen's screening room. I've let it go already, but Pat ... I worry about Pat. Yeah we handled T. Owens. Kenoy Kennedy hit him so hard he still may not know who he is."
Marshall Faulk, RB, St. Louis Rams -- "Kurt's coming back down to Earth. Knew he would eventually. There's a reason he was in the Arena league. No panic. Who to bench first? What's with Martz? Memo to self: Have Orlando Pace cloned. Who cares if it's legal?"
Bill Romanowski, LB, Oakland Raiders -- "Home is where, when you go there, they have to put you in, at linebacker. This is for medicinal purposes only. I'm a throwback. Will hock up a loogie on you in a minute if things get bad and we need a diversion."
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots -- "Nobody seems to notice that me and Matt Damon look like brothers, only I'm bigger, taller, younger and sexier. They must never know I ordered it up. I need a How-To-Handle-Groupies seminar. How do I know who likes me for me? Oh, right -- who cares!? Until the Devil comes for my soul."
Marvin Harrison, WR, Indianapolis Colts -- "Don't say anything to anybody, Marv. Try to make it through an entire career without saying anything ... Remember when Sterling Sharpe would not say anything to anybody in the media? Now they can't shut him up."
Herm Edwards, head coach, New York Jets -- "If you want 'em to play like men, treat 'em like men. Treated 'em like Cub Scouts last week. That's why we got a 44-point tattoo applied to our butts."
Vinny Testaverde, QB, New York Jets -- "Dreamed of milk and Rice Krispies, snap, crackle, pop. Woke up. It was my knees."
Steve Spurrier, head coach, Washington Redskins -- "Yeeesh! Horselips! Lookit that stud QB Philly's got! Gotta get me one'a them boys! Love ya, Shane, Danny, but apparently this thang's bigger'n both of ya. Grab a couple visors, fellas. Hopefully ..."
Jon Gruden, head coach, Tampa Bay Bucs -- "F#%@&! -- A!"
Chris Redman, QB, Baltimore Ravens -- "Went to U of L, check, play for Baltimore NFL team, check, spoke to Johhny U. on tricks of playing QB in NFL, check, wore black quasi-high tops in his honor, check. Got doors blown off again, double-check. Guess there's more to it than a crew cut ... my mouth still bleeding?"
Ralph Wiley spent nine years at Sports Illustrated and wrote 28 cover stories on celebrity athletes. He is the author of several books, including "Best Seat in the House," with Spike Lee, "Born to Play: The Eric Davis Story," and "Serenity, A Boxing Memoir."