Working at a college gives me an opportunity to do a lot of people watching during a day. The latest phenomenon on campus this year is to wear the jersey of a team that won on Sunday. For some reason, such a relatively simple concept seems to have caught on this year. Driving from work on Monday, I ran across someone wearing a Sean Taylor jersey. Surely, he was either supporting the Redskins or just trying to incite Eagle fans.
A week earlier while eating lunch, I noticed a young lady wearing a Brian Urlacher jersey, the day after the Bears’ 24-20 win over the Eagles. Now, I’m not sure of any these people are truly fans of the team. In fact, I doubt it. What are the odds of someone being a real Bear fan in Glassboro, New Jersey? If you were born after 1985, I’d say slim and none.
Perhaps my favourite jersey tale occurred during last season’s playoffs. While watching the Giants/Cowboys divisional playoff game at a local bar, I sat next to a girl who was wearing a Tony Romo jersey out of support for the Cowboys.
The following week, I came back to the same bar for the championship games and the same girl was wearing an Eli Manning jersey. At that point it became clear she was wearing this for one reason — to pick up guys and gather free drinks. To her credit, it seemed to work. Seriously, I’m not sure anyone on the planet owns both an Eli Manning and Romo jersey. That is akin to liking both the Soviet and USA ice hockey teams during the ’80 Olympics. She hatched an evil and devious way to take advantage of guys, but she gets an “A” in the shrewd planning category.
Nonetheless, moves like these shouldn’t be allowed to take place. Hence, I have a plan that will finally prevent people from desecrating the concept of buying a jersey.
It all starts when either renewing or first picking up your driver’s license. While you’re at the DMV and signifying whether you want to be an organ donor, you should also have to declare a favourite NFL team. Following the declaration, you’ll receive paperwork that details the following rules for jersey purchasing as an NFL fan:
1. You must own at least one jersey of your favourite team. If you don’t own one, you must purchase one prior to the end of the current NFL season.
2. You may buy a jersey of another player for a different team.
3. However, pursuant to Rule No. 2, you may not buy a jersey from a division rival of your favourite team.
4. You cannot buy multiple jerseys from a team other than your favourite squad.
5. People trying to purchase a jersey for the Steelers, Cowboys or 49ers that don’t live within a 100-mile radius of these organizations must answer a 50-question test about the team’s history. You’ll need to score at least an 80 per cent to pass.
These five simple rules will make fandom a bit easier to stomach instead of breeding a society of frontrunners. Oh, and if you happen to work in the NFL’s marketing division, please don’t put out a contract on me.
Ten Things We Learned In Week Five
1. No one can stop the Wildcat formation.: Here is how to confuse NFL coaches. Come up with a formation that they haven’t seen since high school or college. Apparently, that’s the new criteria for blowing the minds of coaches. Seriously, no one can explain to me how Ronnie Brown continues to run around and through people using this formation. Note to NFL coaches everywhere: when Brown is in the backfield, it’s likely a run. If he sweeps wide to either side, it’s likely to be an option pass. Aren’t these guys supposed to be smart?
2. Plaxico? We don’t need no stinking Plaxico: During Plaxico Burress’ one-game suspension, Eli Manning proceeded as if Burress was never on the team. He threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns, hitting on 76 per cent of his passes along the way. Slowly, little brother is becoming big brother.
3. The Colts own a four leaf clover. At 1 a.m. early Wednesday morning, I sat down and watched Sunday’s Colts/Texans game featuring perhaps the worst quarter played by a quarterback leading by at least two scores. The most amazing part of Sage Rosenfels’ leap leading to the fumble return to make it 27-24 is where it happened. He starts his jump at the Indy 36, while the first down is at the 31 yardline. Since when is leaping five yards forward for a first down when your team is up by 10 in the fourth quarter a good idea?!?
4. Those pre-season top 10 rankings make for fine toilet paper: Most top 10 rankings included LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, Brian Westbrook, Steven Jackson, Joseph Addai, Tom Brady, Marion Barber, Randy Moss and Clinton Portis. If you have any these players except for Portis, you’re likely struggling this season.
5. Lions’, Rams’ and Chiefs’ fans are all excluded from the jersey rules above: Typically every season features it share of bad teams. However, Detroit, St. Louis and Kansas City continue to redefine bad football. I think I would pay money to see a six-team playoff (byes would go to Detroit and St. Louis) involving the Lions, Chiefs, Rams, Raiders, Texans, and Bengals.
6. All scoring system should include punt returns: Reggie Bush’s greatest worth seems to be as a punt returner, sadly. He still can’t run, but at least he might catch close to 80 passes again.
7. There are not enough balls to go around in Dallas: Terrell Owens just looks sad. Can you blame him? He was targeted just three times. The Cowboys have to use Barber, Felix Jones and Jason Witten, amongst others. That’s a lot of people to make happy. It appears that Owens’ season total for receptions is going to take a dip unless Dallas can find a better balance.
8. Seattle…dead: Here’s a new rule to think about for next season. Sit all Seahawks whenever they travel to the east coast. They physically get whipped and without reliable receiving options, scoring points will be like pulling teeth.
9. Matt Ryan is not that bad: His first visit to Lambeau Field was a successful one. Ryan is not quite weekly fantasy starter material yet, but he’s well on his way.
10. Every Sunday, dawn will occur and Clinton Portis will carry 20 times: In his first five games, Portis has tallied at least 20 carries. That’s great news for Portis owners this season because at least he’ll get his touches, but Jim Zorn needs to lighten the workload just a bit.
Fantasy Power Poll
Last week’s rankings are in parentheses
1. Drew Brees (2) – He committed three turnovers, but threw for 300 yards again along with a touchdown pass.
2. Adrian Peterson (1) – Just 32 yards against the Saints without Sedrick Ellis?
3. Michael Turner (NR) – Another surprising effort by Turner. Perhaps we should take him seriously.
4. Jay Cutler (3) – Tampa posed a bad matchup for Denver because of its fast and physical defense.
5. Kurt Warner (7) – He thought about retiring after the Anquan Boldin injury (while Andy contemplated more final actions). No Kurt! Don’t do it!
6. Tony Romo (4) – Slowly but surely, Romo is becoming a turnover machine.
7. Brandon Marshall (6) – Back to back average weeks for Marshall with the tough Jags coming to town in Week Six.
8. Reggie Bush (8) – If your league counts punt returns towards individual players, you’re in fantastic shape with him. Otherwise, he has been hit and miss again.
9. Brett Favre (9) – Ah, no Favre talk this week, thankfully.
10. Larry Fitzgerald (NR) – With Boldin out of the lineup, Fitzgerald is the clear go-to guy for the Cardinals and should be in store for a solid game against Dallas on Sunday.
Link(s) of the Week
Before I get to the real link of the week, I caught some flack for my top five fights of all-time rankings. Andy Goldstein made a great point about the inclusion of the climatic Bloodsport fight scene being a necessity on the list. If someone is creating an entire tournament bracket for a movie, that deserves a bit of a mention. Still, way too much overdramatic acting for my liking despite the vicious quicklime toss to the face by Chong Li, which was a great move.
For part two of our proceedings this week, as a tribute to the Major League Baseball playoffs, let’s go back in time to 1981. Following their World Series victory over the Yankees, a few of the Dodgers thought it was a great idea to redo Queen’s classic “We Are the Champions.” Perhaps, the most brutal cover you’ll ever hear. “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles, it’s not. This should be played prior to every game at Citizens Bank Park during the National League Championship Series. In fact, it rivals the timeless Kevin Millar doing The Boss footage.