Thursday, December 21, 2006

Again, I feel I have to apologize to both of my readers for my inconsistent updates. I keep meaning to post, but things sometimes intrude. It took me some time to adjust this week to a serious miscarriage of justice. I'm only now strong enough to sit up and take soup. Other than that, I have been bedridden with horror since Saturday night.

I cannot believe the NFL did not listen to a luminary like DeAngelo Hall. I mean, when one considers the great experts on American jurisprudence, Mr. Hall should rank among the towering figures like Marshall (John or Thurgood), Holmes, Jay and the rest. After all, he built a reputation as a great cover corner on the strength of a handful of games in his brief career. Of course it helps that very few cryptofascist reactionaries like me can remember that his bad games far outnumber the good, but thankfully the American people listen to ESPN and only two or three lone gunmen stray on to my site.

Terrell Owens spat on Mr. Hall, and yet TO is not facing the firing squad. Surely spitting on a overrated defensive back is the elusive second capital crime specified by the Founding Fathers in the small print of the Constitution. $35,000 is not nearly enough money for a crime of that magnitude. If the powers that be cannot find legal grounds for execution, perhaps we can find a way to banish him from the land without sinking under the weight of our disappointment.

Perhaps the league has something more suitable in mind. It occurs to me that this Sunday night will find the Dallas Cowboys on the losing end of a hellacious beating. The Eagles have already won this contest. I heard a reliable rumor that placed DeMarcus Ware in his bathtub in the fetal position weeping at the prospect of facing the real best running back in the NFL this week. That person in San Diego is a media creation who is nowhere near as talented as Brian Westbrook, whose durability issues are a product of the Bush Administration and some misguided black magic scheme on the part of Texas Christian alumni, desperate to see a graduate succeed in the NFL for the first time since Bob Lily walked the Earth.

I don't know if you've heard, but Jeff Garcia is back in Philly. Back with a vengeance. He's put together two good games in a row, so the last 2 seasons of something that would have resembled mediocrity, provided some one changed the meaning of mediocrity to abysmal, have been expunged from his record. Garcia will go in to Texas Stadium a bit like Eastwood entered the billiard parlor at the end of Unforgiven. If things work the way I think, Jerry Jones will be forced to surrender the playoff berth already clinched by the Cowboys to a more deserving team, like Atlanta.

Obviously, I watch too much ESPN, and I overreact to what I see. It's not good for my long term health. It sets my blood pressure rising, and gets me grinding my teeth. I really shouldn't watch it so much, but I'm not very bright. Lately, I have been hearing a lot about how Garcia has the Eagles rolling right now. They're a juggernaught. But I'm not sold.

They beat the Giants by 14 this week, but it wasn't a blow out. One can interpret things two ways. A much improved Eagles defense stonewalled the Giants 3 times in the red zone, forcing field goals, or Tom Coughlin and his offensive coordinator will soon enter an offseason that will be Thunder Dome for bad coaching. Two of them will enter the offseason employed, at least one of them is getting fired.

Of course there is always the lingering TO story when the Eagles and Garcia return to meet the man that should have genuflected before the team and the QB. Yes, he should have been the first player in NFL history to be suspended for spitting on another player. Spitting is 10 million times worse than the Albert Haynesworth situation combined with the Miami-Florida International riot. But the player has been allowed to play against his former team and the QB he tried to out so that his humiliation can be complete.

I think $35,000 was too much. Spitting is filthy, and he should have been ejected, but I guarantee that there was at least one other offense that warrants ejection that went uncalled this season. As for DeAngelo Hall, he needs to man up. After a backhand, spitting is the most humiliating thing a man can do to another man on an athletic field. If a guy spits on you and you exhibit the restraint not to cost your team with a retaliation penalty, kudos to you. But it's your job as a man to find the spitter and settle the score by kicking his ass. Whining to the commissioner to have the spitter suspended is even more emasculating that being spit on in the first place.

Perhaps DeAngelo Hall can take cold comfort from the fact that he is a Pro Bowler and Owens is not. Everybody knows Owens should have been voted in; he came in third in fan ballots. He caught more TDs than Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith combined. There is a simple stat that offsets that disparity, however. It's not dropped passes (of which TO had far too many). It's theoretical TDs. Steve Smith caught 30,000 of them.

By theoretical TDs, I mean how many he would have caught had Jake Delhomme been healthy all season and not dropped off in performance, had Keyshawn done more and less to help the team at the same time, had more trash receptacles been available for more vomiting when the camera was on him, had Carolina lived up to expectations, had a butterfly in Beijing flapped its wings and caused a rainstorm in New York and had the Moon been in the third house when Jupiter aligned with Mars.

Unlike everybody else in America, I like TO. I have no problem with him throwing McNabb under the bus. If a world class athlete is sick in the huddle and can't call plays in the biggest moments of the biggest game of the year, there is something wrong with him. Maybe it's the Chunky soup that accounts for Donovan's history of awful clock management. I also have no problem with him calling Jeff Garcia a fag. It's stupid, childish and immature, but he's a grown man playing a child's game for millions of dollars, not a civic leader.

If you look to singers, actors and athletes to set the moral compass of the greatest nation on Earth, you're a moron. It's not my fault, and it's not TO's fault that he isn't what a generation of young males need in a role model. I don't know what they need. Maybe they don't need role models at all. Maybe the rest of us can expect them to figure out where they need to be to function in society by holding them accountable for their actions.

I don't mean TO shouldn't be held accountable for what he's done, just that I don't think he deserves to be placed in the stocks in the public square for being childish. He has that right, or at least he did when this was a free country. Maybe if people listened to him and responded to him earnestly and kept the soapbox speeches and shame on you lectures in check for a moment, he might not act out for attention the way he does.

I don't know whether he sleeps in meetings. I don't believe him when he says he takes plays off. I think he said that knowing it's what the media wants him to say so he can stay in the limelight for another news cycle or two. Watch the tape of the Saints Cowboys game. You'll see TO sprinting down the field with Julius Jones on the 70 yard TD run. He certainly didn't take plays off.

I've said a lot, and wandered off course even more than usual, to say that he should have been fined for the incident, but less than $35,000. He should have made the Pro Bowl. He had the best season of any NFC receiver, drops and all. And maybe, next time he shoots off his mouth, one reporter can ask him if he really wants the negative attention. After all, he's going to retire one day, and how will he find the spotlight then?

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