Note this index shows most teams that reached the playoffs didn't have many pairings against playoff teams, thus inflating their Ws. Only the Dolphins, Saints, and Vikings appeared in five Authentic Games, and the Rams were the sole qualifier playing six. Meanwhile, of those teams stopped at the postseason vestibule with a 9-7 record, all appeared in more games against playoff teams than any club that made the tournament: the Jets, Packers, and Steelers played seven Authentic Games, the Lions eight. At any rate this index predicts good things for the Broncos, Bucs, and Flaming Thumbtacks; despair for the Eagles, Ravens, and Saints.
Olindo, My Lindo: Olindo Mare missed from 28 yards in the fourth as the Marine Mammals almost blew it in New England, then came back to hit the game winner from 49 yards with nine seconds left. This item appears strictly to justify the headline.
ESPN To Call Next Florida Election: Shortly before the season began, ESPN ran no fewer than 15 sets of predictions of winners for the six NFL divisions and six wild-card slots. This was an astonishing exercise in covering every base, as ESPN NFL regulars John Clayton, Greg Garber, Mike Golic, Merril Hoge, Tom Jackson, Andrea Kremer, Paul Maguire, Mark Malone, Chris Mortensen, Tom Oates, Sean Salisbury, Marty Schottenheimer, Joe Theismann, Solomon Wilcots, and Pam Ward all made complete forecasts, seeming to guarantee somebody would get it right if only by blind chance. Instead all 15 sets of predictions were wrong. Fifteen people each picking 12 positions offers 180 permutations, and even with this incredible wiggle room, the ESPN meta-forecast whiffed.
If Intellectuals Were Football Columnists: From Karl Marx's column, "The Linebacker Manifesto":
While it may appear that football matches are based on "rules," the underlying structure is economic exploitation. First the reserves and rookies are exploited by veterans, who demand that reserves play on special teams and rookies stand on training tables to sing. In this, the veterans perpetuate destructive social norms by mimicking exploitation they themselves endured. Next, the average, proletarian players are exploited by the stars, who claim for themselves a disproportionate share of the salary cap. Superstars in turn exploit the stars by monopolizing endorsement fees. Everyone exploits the offensive linemen, whose identities are rarely known even to their position coaches. Fans are exploited by media hype to paint their faces and engage in displays of faux-barbarism that rob the working class of dignity. Ticket-buyers are exploited by owners to waste discretionary income on exorbitant concession-stand prices. (Have you tasted the bratwurst at the Vet? I don't recommend it for your life expectancy! And the latte at 3Com Park is all syrup.) Systematic exploitation inevitably drives all players to starvation wages—hmm, I'll have to fudge the $1 million average salary point—while causing players "voluntarily" to sacrifice their bodies to injuries that doom them to later life as spokesmen for automobile dealerships.
The mythic edifice of football is based on sociological illusions. Fans are manipulated into the belief that home-team victories will provide entertainment (for every happy crowd there is another crowd of angry people ripping up their ticket stubs!) and further lulled into the mytho-poetic deception that a Super Bowl championship will improve civic fortunes of the community. False hopes of collective glory are then methodically dashed. Can it be coincidence that Super Bowl trophies have been monopolized by affluent cities such as Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, and Washington to the exclusion of working-class locations such as Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit? (Must fudge the Packers and Steelers somehow; ask Friedrich to work on it.) Dreams of "wait till next year" prevent fans from taking action in the present to alter the conditions that oppress them—or at least to improve draft choices. Football is the microbrew of the masses!
Notice that while the workers (players) are systematically exploited, owners share NFL TV revenues equally among themselves in a socialistic arrangement. For the owners it is, "From each according to his network contract, to each according to his need for private jets and supermodel mistresses!" Why cannot the proletariat join in this arrangement? (Especially, why cannot scruffy writers of manifestos have supermodel mistresses? My need is great!) To revolutionize football, the structure must be smashed in these ways:
- Workers should control the means of production. Therefore players should organize practices, compose game plans using central planning sessions, and change training camp to re-education camp for coaches and owners.
- Passes should be distributed not on the bourgeoisie basis of "who's open" but according to need, with the lower-paid player thrown to first, then the next lowest-paid and so on.
- Workers (players) would stop competing against each other and mutually pledge to concentrate efforts on blitzing and sacking management.
- Intellectuals should call the plays. However, we would be exempt from bourgeois criticism if our calls led to humiliating defeats, mass suffering, etc.
- Referees should be abolished. Players to govern themselves by group consensus.
- All seats priced the same and 50-yard-line positions distributed by lottery. All skyboxes open to the public; anyone may have the Scotch.
Also, in an ideal restructuring, the cheerleaders would want to have sex with the intellectuals.
Linebackers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your tape.
TMQ Failed Predictions: Considering the above item on bad ESPN forecasts, it's only fair that Tuesday Morning Quarterback review its own preseason predictions, noting they were plainly labeled as "absolutely guaranteed to be wrong."
TMQ was totally, utterly wrong about the Vikings ("the club has train-wreck potential") and the Giants ("that clucking sound you hear is the chickens coming home to roost"). TMQ was wrongly sanguine about the Seahawks and Panthers, inexplicably forecasting winning years. TMQ was only sorta right about the Saints and Eagles, expecting improvement but not the playoffs, was too pessimistic about Miami and too optimistic about the Colts. TMQ was pretty much dead-on for every other club: calling every loser; praising Tennessee, Oakland, and Baltimore; warning that Jax was composed of paper Jaguars; foreseeing that the football gods would punish the Bills; and forecasting this about the Chesapeake Watershed Region Indigenous Persons: "Maybe all the money will buy happiness, but let's note about Daniel Snyder what Dorothy Parker once said: 'If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people He gave it to.' "
Haiku Corner: Reader verse:
Miller twists in wind
Soon cut loose. How many ways
To say, "Outta here?"
Alstott back early.
Irrelevant, for Bucs learn
give Dunn the damn ball.
TMQ cans script
Last column had no "ye gods!"
What next, no haiku?