Some teams sun themselves in a Super Bowl, then never wake up from a long winter’s nap. The Music City Miracle year was all she wrote for the boys from Nashville.
Some teams sun themselves in a Super Bowl, then never wake up from a long winter’s nap.
The Music City Miracle year was all she wrote for the boys from Nashville.
The Falcons were one and done after going 14-2 en route to beating the 15-1 Vikings in an NFC title game. What’s to rave about in Baltimore since the 2000 season? The Eagles have flown in reverse since landing in a Super Bowl. The Bears gave ‘em steel in January and seemed to rust overnight. Meanwhile, in New England, they just keep throwing another log on the fire.
The 2001 Patriots were told they were the worst collection of talent in Super Bowl history. They didn’t get mad. They got better.
This year’s group, Videogate asterisk in tow, will be the most complete Super Bowl winner ever, it appears.
Talent, coaching, offense, defense, special teams -- the Patriots are at the top in virtually every discipline except press box food. The Jets and Rams offer ice cream. Not New England.
The Patriots are the new greatest show on turf and the worst drama on television. It was 35-7 at halftime at Buffalo. Time to watch “Heidi” on ESPN Classic.
It’s T-minus six to 16-0.
A quick look at New England’s remaining games:
- Philadelphia. The Pats edged Philly 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX. This time, it’ll be more like 42-12 no matter whether A.J. Feeley or Donovan McNabb gets thrown to the wolves.
- At Baltimore. Having gone from swagger to stagger, the Ravens might consider having Ray Lewis run out of the tunnel straight to Bill Belichick, where he can say, “Please don’t hurt us, sir.”
- Pittsburgh. This might be interesting in Pennsylvania. It’s not, and it won’t be.
- New York Jets. Their win over Pittsburgh speaks to the beating the Steelers are in for.
- Miami. This would be a much bigger upset than Appalachian State over Michigan.
- At New York Giants. Theoretically, a No. 1 pick in his fourth year should be able to out-quarterback a former sixth-rounder. Practically, Eli Manning’s best games are Tom Brady’s turkeys.
The mindset behind these observations could fall through at any time -- or at the hands of Father Time.
Mike Vrabel is 32. Tedy Bruschi is 34. Junior Seau is 38. Rodney Harrison is going on 35. Randy Moss could turn back into a sourpuss at any time. Belichick could get hit by a guilt attack.
Dream on. There’s something in the water up there.
‘Uncle Reub’ returns
Reuben Droughns had an ironic career in Cleveland.
He won a contract extension after the 2005 season by becoming the first Brown in 20 years to deliver 1,000-plus rushing yards. Then he opened 2006 in a funk amid a domestic violence charge. He had a mostly miserable year, which bottomed out with a five-carry, 6-yard game at Pittsburgh.
Yet, he proved his mental toughness with a late awakening, approaching 100 yards with strong per-carry averages in Games 15 and 16 against Tampa and Houston.
Then he got traded. Then he got buried as the Giants’ No. 3 back.
Suddenly, he might be needed to salvage the Giants’ 7-3 season because of injuries to Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward.
“He’s a true professional,” Ward said in the New York Daily News. “We call him 'Uncle Reub’ because he's been in the league for awhile, so he knows how the game goes.
“He's a team player. It’s his time right now.”
Wear and tear leaves Droughns with less talent than almost anybody else’s No. 1 back. He’s a fiercer competitor than most. Before the Browns got good, his fearlessness was all that kept them from getting embarrassed in one game at Pittsburgh.
Receiver gives little
It’s hard to believe some 2005 draft analysts had USC’s Mike Williams ahead of Michigan’s Braylon Edwards in pre-draft rankings.
Williams was supposed to be an instant force for Detroit, at least as a possession receiver. Instead, he was traded to the Raiders, who cut him last month.
He’s back in the league partly because a fellow Southern Cal alum, Jeff Fisher, is head coach of his new team, the Titans.
Guys like Williams and Calvin Johnson should remind everyone to take next year’s draft hype with a grain of salt.
Johnson, the latest wideout drafted way up there by Detroit, was supposed to look like a Hall of Famer right out of the gate. First he’ll need to crack the 2008 top 50. He ranks 63rd in the NFL with 402 receiving yards.
The lonely Packer
Who would you rather be?
Aaron Rodgers, with the fat signing bonus that comes from being a 2005 Round 1 draft pick, but starving for playing time three years in behind Brett Favre?
Or Derek Anderson, the 213th pick in that draft, landing with a franchise that hasn’t settled on Mr. Right since the Bernie Kosar-Bill Belichick divorce?
Favre is throwing around clues he’ll be back in 2008. Good for Green Bay.
Good for the league. Poor Rodgers.
- A headline in the Dayton Daily News the other day read, “A brutal truth is sinking in: Bengals likely to miss playoffs.” The Bengals are 3-7 with an 0-10 defense. That headline would have flown three weeks ago.
- Joshua Cribbs is giving Devin Hester a good run for the title of “the game’s most electrifying return man,” as Hester was described this week by the Chicago Sun-Times. Cribbs leads Hester 32.5 yards to 23.8 in kickoff return average. Hester leads Cribbs 15.9-11.2 in punt return average. Hester leads 3-2 in overall touchdowns.
- The Bears are learning what the Ravens knew soon after winning a Super Bowl at the top of the decade. Defense can carry a team without a quarterback only so far. Odds are 100-to-1 against the 4-6 Bears reaching the playoffs, given their strong remaining schedule (Broncos, Giants, Redskins, Vikings, Packers, Saints).