Holiday thought balloons
By Ralph Wiley
Page 2 columnist

How about some Christmas cheer for Brett Favre, who played like he'd never played before, the night after his father died? Talk about being imbued and possessed by the spirit of Christmas Past. Wow.

And how about some cheer for Randy Moss, who unbraided his hair while thinking, "Well, there's always work at the Post Office"? Then he looked in the mirror and screamed, "Ahh! It's Lupe Garou! Wait. It's ... me!" Then he proceeded to become Unguardable again.

Randy Moss
Just think, if Randy lost the hair, he'd have another step on the secondary.
Hold that cheer for Joe Willie. He's had enough. Bar's closed.

And how about a cheer for Suzy Kolber? That's what a woman gets for really knowing pro football. She gets hit on, and not with any real sincerity but just because she's standing there on national TV, then winds up the interview with a show of class. Whenever Suze comes on an ESPN set, the crew should shout, "MVP! MVP!"

How about some cheer and a better agent for Bernie Mac, who has yet to have a decent movie role? It's like the suits decreed, "I want Bern in my movie!" and then somebody said "Right, Chief!" Then stuck him there. Forget characterization, forget dialogue, forget being organic to the story. What was that in "Bad Santa"? Bern's not as inorganic a presence or as horrible an actor as he seems in these non-roles. We can tell from a new Nike spot about "Soul of the Game." Bern plays a preacher saying LeBron asked for "Court Vision" and it was given unto him. Yo, Bern. It's you.

How about getting on and getting over with the Holiday Thought Balloons, checking out the subconscious musings of NFL stars ...?

Gregg Williams, "Coach"(?), Buffalo Bills: "Christmas? Sooner or later, I must face the fact I'm clueless and nearly jobless. Tiny Tim face-down drunk in a plum pudding knows more about coaching an NFL team than I do. Say ... maybe I can steal his game plan. That would give me one. The one thing that might buy me a little time is the old man might not realize I'm clueless until New Year's, 2005."

Ralph Wilson, Owner, Buffalo Bills: "Bah! Humbug! Williams is clueless. I don't care what that ghost-like visage says. My mirror's just steamed up. Be better off with Tiny Tim. Or Little Richard."

Richard Seymour, DT, New England Patriots: "Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh, wonder if you know, how it feels to be King Kong. Bells on Drew's tail ring, making spirits bright, what fun it is to stomp and sing a whaling song tonight. Hey, Jingle Bells, slice of hell, bull rush all the way, oh what fun ..."

Shaun Alexander, RB, Seattle Seahawks: "Holmgren's chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Brett Favre nipping at our heels ... although it's been said, many times many ways, 'Give me the %&#$! ball!' "

Julian Petersen, LB, San Francisco 49ers: "Oh, come all ye wideouts, joyful and triumphant; oh, come make us forget about nut-zoid T.O."

Duce Staley, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: "Ducey the Red-Nosed Running Back, had some very shiny clothes; and if you ever saw them, you would even say they glow. All of the other Iggle running backs, used to laugh and get all the run. Ducey the Red-Nosed Running Back, now thinks of carrying a gun ... just to scare 'em."

Steve Spurrier
"Hell, you play like that Saturday and Bowden will kill us ... wait, where am I?"
Steve Spurrier, Coach, Washington Redskins: "Good King Danny Boy looked out, on the feast of Stephen, where large denomination bills lay round about, deep and crisp and even ... "

Torry Holt, WR, St. Louis Rams: "We wish you a merry track meet, we wish you a merry track meet, we wish you a merry track meet ... just keep Dungy away."

Matt Millen, GM, Detroit Lions: "Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind -- you $%#@! -- should auld acquaintance be forgot in days of Old Whipped Heine ... "

Woody Johnson, Owner, New York Jets: "Santa Claus ... goes straight to the ghetto ... so will we, before I let Hermie go to ATL."

Wayne Huizenga, Owner, Miami Dolphins: "Silent Night, Holy #%&!. All is calm; all is bright. Round yon Ricky, Wannie won't stay. Jason's a keeper; Zack's day-to-day. Wayne the Savior is bo-o-ored. Wayne the Savior is bored ... "

Brian Urlacher, LB, Chicago Bears (standing outside Arrowhead Stadium, leading the Bears in caroling): "We wish you a Merry Playoff, we wish you a Merry Playoff, we wish you a Merry Playoff, but not Home Field Advantage ... not on our watch."

Priest Holmes, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: "Juke to the World, the Priest has come. Let End Zones receive their King (that would be moi). Let every heart, prepare me room; and Trent will shout with joy, and Dick will cry with joy. Let heaven and nature bling ... "

Jack Del Rio, Coach, Jacksonville Jaguars: "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus ... but that's not uncommon around here. Hey, even I started to kiss John Carney myself. Carney is Santa Claus, as far as I'm concerned. Uh-oh. Here comes Wayne Weaver. Better look intense and busy. Byron! Get your hot cross buns over here!"

Michael Vick, QB, Atlanta Falcons: "I'm Dreaming of a Mike Christmas, just like the ones I used to know ... where the average-per-carry is glistening and bright. And may all your future Christmas playoff rounds and Super Bowls ... be Mike ... "

Warren Sapp, DL, Tampa Bay Bucs: "Away in a Manger, no crib for my head, the Little Lord Gruden has run folks away. The stars in the sky look down where I lay. I may be a Raider at the end of the day ... "

Steve McNair, QB, Tennessee Titans: "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, that glorious song of old ... Peace on the earth; my body hurts. I still make all the throws ... It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, nobody wants to see Air in a playoff two-minute drill."

Bill Parcells, Coach, Dallas Cowboys: "Hark the Herald Angels Sing, glory to the old-head King. Peace on earth; if Quincy gets it right, me and these Sinners will reconcile. Joyful all ye safeties rise. Roy and Woodson make me smile. Then the pundits will proclaim, I'm re-born on a Texas plain. Hark the Herald Angels Sing, glory to the old-head King ... (only please, just don't let Jerry hear you say it. He's sensitive. Plus his face might break in half)."

John Carney
"Mr. Carney, I have a Mr. Norwood on line one."
Jim Haslett, Coach, New Orleans Saints: "We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas ... and Carney's head on a plate ... "

Tim Couch, QB, Cleveland Browns: " ... good tidings to you, as long as you get me out of Cleveland. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Boo Year ... I mean, New Year ... "

Corey Dillon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: "I'm getting out of here, par-ump-pa-pum-pum. Marv can live with young Rudy then, par-ump-pa-pum-pum. I'll take my booty on then ... par-ump-pa-pum-pum, rump-a-pum-pum, rump-a-pum-pum. I'm a Cowboy now, par-ump-pa-pum-pum. Me and my drum ... me and my drum ... "

Michael Strahan, DE, New York Giants: "O Little Town of New York City, how still we see no light of day at the end of the tunnel. Above the deep and dreamless sleep, we have to start from scratch."

Mike Tice, Coach, Minnesota Vikings (to the "Peanuts" jazz melody): "Christmas time is here. Red McCombs, I do fear. We need to win or I'll be like Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls the ball away ... "

Anquan Boldin, WR, Arizona Cardinals: "Every day ... will be like a holiday ... when more guys get here ... to play with me."

Clinton Portis, RB, Denver Broncos: "O Holy Mike, the coach that ran me ragged, it is the Mike of a new Savior's birth (yeah, that would be me). Long lay the post-Elway world, in fear and desperate pining; it is the year of new Savior's birth. The thrill of hope, five TDs followed by a run call, with no time left to set up a field goal. Fell ... on my knee. I hurt ... and now where are we? I look ... to Mike, and what does he do? He turns to midget Griffin. Oh Mike, Di-VIIIIINE. Oh Mike Shanahan, oh Mike Divine ... "

Brett Favre, QB, Green Bay Packers: "You better watch out; you better not cry. You better watch out, I'm telling you why: Santa Brett is coming to town ... with Ahman Green and nothing to lose."

Al Davis, MGP, Oakland Raiders: "Hear all the bells, ringing like hell, inside my head, Cally is dead, Brown Rice is old, Eli's my goal, Roy Williams too, Fitzgerald'll do. Merry Merry Merry Christmas, Happy Happy Happy Hannukah ... ding, dong, ding, dong ... Raiders will stay, Clint's is the way, make my day ... "

LaDanian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego Chargers (after the eventual dismissal of coach Marty Schottenheimer): "Hal-lelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, ha-le-hey-hey-lu-jah ... "

Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore Ravens: "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Hines Ward's head on a pole ... Let's sing with some meaning out here! Let's feel it! Let's go out there like a bunch of crazed dogs and Montecore cats and devour a bunch of hams called Pittsburger Steelers! With fries! Steel this! And this! ... "

Hines Ward, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: "And he said to all, as he drove on you and then out of sight: 'Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a ... ' Good Night, Nurse! Here comes Ray-Ray! Duck! And cover!"

Ralph Wiley has written articles for Sports Illustrated, Premiere, GQ, and National Geographic, and many national newspapers. He was one of the original NFL Insiders on NBC. His many books include "Serenity, A Boxing Memoir," "Why Black People Tend To Shout," "By Any Means Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of Malcolm X" with Spike Lee, "Dark Witness," "Best Seat in the House" with Spike Lee, "Born to Play" with Eric Davis, and "Growing Up King" with Dexter Scott King and the children of Martin Luther King Jr. He contributes to many ESPN productions, and bats cleanup on a weekly basis for Page 2.



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