Monday, September 13, 2004

Mondays Off! (Inaugural Edition)

Well, it was only a matter of time until our little NotSoMuch forum evolved into the location of my personal weekly NFL column. Since I have Mondays off from work (at least until about 11:30am, when the office calls to bother me with something they could’ve figured out without me), I think that will be the title of this little gimmick. So, Mondays Off it is, at least until I can think of something better. I figured the best way to welcome Mondays Off would be with a series of awards. So without further ado, the Week One Awards…

-The Bill Gramatica Embarrassing Celebration Award* goes to Jeremiah Trotter, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker who jumped up and down repeatedly after blind-siding Giants punter Jeff Feagles, who was lazily jogging in the general direction of the ball-carrier.

*Named for the kicker who jumped so high after converting a meaningless field goal that he tore his ACL and ended his season.

-Staying in the NFC East, The Achievement in Overhyping a Team That Expectedly Destroyed a Bad Team in Week 1 Award goes to those same Philadelphia Eagles. How did everyone, all of a sudden, forget that the Giants are horrible? What sort of collective amnesia has stricken the NFL media? This is a Giants team that mutinied against their coach before the season even started! Two things to remember: In general, NFL quarterbacks are generally coached NOT to throw the ball across their bodies into the end zone while tiptoeing along the sidelines. Donovan got lucky on that one against a depleted, already bad pass defense. Secondly, the Giants offensive line, which could be described as "patchwork," at best, did a pretty decent job against the overhyped Eagles defense. Note to future Eagles opponents: RUN ON THE EAGLES.

And now, a few technical awards:

-The much-anticipated And Tweeins! Award goes to Hardee’s, for creating the most creatively chauvinistic commercial of this young football season, with their young model slowly riding a mechanical bull while eating a gigantic bacon cheeseburger. Somewhere, in a shag-carpeted room filled with bean-bag chairs and lava lamps, a bunch of marketing creatives are still giggling about that one. Kudos!

-The What Does That Commercial Even Mean? Award goes to Hooters, whose new slogan is "Hooters is Football!" What does that even mean?

-The Madden (Boom!) Award for Excellence in Nonsensical Announcing goes to the crew of ESPN’s Sunday Night Football, Joe Theismann, Paul Maguire, and Pat Summerall. In their honor, I’d like to announce a new bonus section of Mondays Off:

For recreational purposes only, Mondays Off is proud to present a new, weekly-updated statistic that is sure to be a fantasy hit. Number of times an ESPN Sunday Night Football announcer assumptively started a sentence with "You talk about…"

Paul Maguire: 17
Joe Theismann: 6
Pat Summerall (sadly): 1

We’ll be bringing this to you every week, so make sure and get your league together! (Hot Fantasy Tip—ride Paul Maguire like Zorro on this one.)

Back to the football awards:

-The Is It Gonna Be Like This All Year? Award goes to the storied San Francisco 49ers and Coach Dennis Erickson, who ran two Pro Bowlers out of town and are now reaping the whirlwind with their 21-19 loss to the Falcons. Oh, and by the way, their new starting Quarterback, Tim Rattay, separated his shoulder. Let the Ken Dorsey-Brandon Lloyd era commence!

-The Tony Banks "I Can’t Believe This Is My Quarterback For Yet Another Week" Award goes to, for the second consecutive year, Brian Billick and Kyle Boller of the Baltimore Ravens, who were embarrassed by the Browns, 20-3. (Marty Schottenheimer and Drew Brees, the Susan Luccis of this award, were happy to break out of the category this week.) Remember when Brian Billick was an offensive guru? It turns out the "Throw the Ball to Randy Moss" offensive scheme only works in Minnesota. Who’d have thought? Incidentally, it looks like 3-time Pro Bowler Jeff Garcia throws pretty well, for a gay guy.

-The Award for Excellence in Statistical Efficiency goes to Jerome Bettis of the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose line looked something like this: 5 Rushes, 1 Yard, 3 TD. Jerome also holds a 2003 Award for Creepiest Non-Football-Related TV Appearance by an NFL Player when he stuck a golf club up an unconscious guy's butt on MTV’s Punk'd. By the way, after second consideration, creepy is still the only word that applies.

-The Random Titans Injury of the Week Award goes to Zach Piller, an offensive lineman who managed to tear his biceps in Saturday’s win over the hapless Dolphins. How do you go about doing that? I probably don’t want to know, but the Titans Wheel-O-Injuries continues to spin at full speed. Usually Steve McNair is kind enough to handle about 35-40% of the team’s mishaps himself, but this week I guess he just didn’t feel up to it. It’s still early.

-Speaking of the Dolphins, the Award for Arousing the Wrath of the Hebrew God goes to Dave Wannstedt, who continued his years-long crusade to start a Jewish Quarterback in the NFL on Saturday. When that didn’t work, he replaced Fiedler with AJ Feeley, a man who is Jewish in nose only. You aren’t fooling anyone but yourself, Dave—it’s not the same. Meanwhile, the gently gentile Feeley threw the Dolphins’ only touchdown.

-The Award for the Running Pack Whose Average Yards-Per-Carry Approximately Equals His Height Falling Down goes, as usual, to Eddie George, whose 9 carries and 34 yards work out to be about equal to his 6-foot-four frame taking a step and then falling down on every carry.

-And finally, the "No, Bono, No!" Award goes to the Broncos’ Jake Plummer, who decided, in the shadow of his own goalpost, to throw the ball WITH HIS LEFT HAND into the heart of the Chiefs defense. Naturally, it was intercepted and resulted in a touchdown for the Chiefs. Note: Jake Plummer is NOT left-handed.

Next week: more Mondays Off!

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