[NFL/NBA] Pancakes In the Age of Enlightenment-Inaugural Column

PANCAKES IN THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT-2004 NFL YEAR IN REVIEW-NFC EAST; NBA HOT LIST; THE REAL NCAA HOOPS SEASON TIPS OFF

It’s great to be here. Thank you for choosing my column over the vast and fruitful landscape of pornography available to you on the internet, that really means something to me.

For my inaugural column, we’ll begin our team by team review of the 2004 NFL season. Want to know what I think about your team? Sure you do! Well stick with me and you’ll find out. We’ll start by looking at the NFC East in this column. Next column- The NFC Central! Or North! Is that what they are calling it now? What a country!

We’ll also check out who is hot and who is not in the NBA, and find out who is catching the eye of the NCAA Tournament selection committee as we head into conference play in college basketball.

So enough with the introduction, let’s get retarded.

2004 NFL YEAR IN REVIEW-NFC EAST
2004 was a year to remember on the hallowed NFL Gridiron. Peyton Manning taught us how to love again with his 49 TD passes. Nicolette Sheridan jumped into Terrell Owens’ arms and into our hearts. Michael Vick dazzled us with his profound talents that will one day, mark my words, allow him to throw for over 200 yards in one football game. Yes friends, it was quite a year, and now that we have had time to step back and gain some perspective on it, lets place an epitaph on each team’s season. Only the NFC East teams though, I’m new at this so I don’t want to throw too much at you just yet. Don’t worry though, there is enough love to go around for all 32 NFL teams. That’s what they call a tease pardner.

Let’s take a look at the year that was:

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 13-3 1ST PLACE NFC EAST, 9th NFL Total Offense, 10th Total Defense

One thing matters to the Eagles, winning the NFC Championship game. Everyone from Head Coach Andy Reid, to Quarterback Donovan McNabb, to the cheerleaders knows it. No matter what is achieved in the regular season, the Eagles will be absolutely crucified if they don’t bring the goods in the NFC Title game vs. Atlanta this weekend.

When all is said and done though, even if the Eagles get over their hump and reach the Super Bowl, you can just imagine Belichick’s defense making Donovan McNabb cry out of frustration in the big game.

There is a softness about this team that is hard to put your finger on. Maybe its having the QB’s mom running around serving them Chunky Soup all the time, I don’t know. Nowhere was this more evident than in the only loss the team suffered while at full strength, an old fashioned 30’s style butt whipping from the Steelers and their Captain Caveman offense.

Another red flag is that after Terrell Owens got hurt, the team went into a shell and was afraid to come out for the final 3 weeks of the season. They also don’t have a reliable running game.

They are a blueprint for a team that can achieve regular season success and then repeatedly piss all over themselves in the playoffs.

You always feel with this team that disaster is just waiting to happen. Either someone is blowing out their knee or an old defensive lineman is dying or God knows what else. At least their fans don’t cry about being cursed all the time like Red Sox fans or Cubs fans, so you have to give them credit for that.

NY GIANTS 6-10 2ND PLACE TIE NFC EAST 23rd NFL Total Offense, 13th NFL Total Defense

I’ll say one thing for Giants coach Tom Coughlin, the guy’s got balls. Here we have a team that at the midway point of the season was 5-2, had just finished crushing the Minnesota Vikings in the Metrodome, and was seemingly on their way to a playoff berth as the #1 wildcard in the weak NFC. Then they lost to the Bears and Cardinals. Enter a not ready for prime time QB Eli Manning, and the team didn’t win again until the end of the season.

So did Coughlin make the right decision by scuttling his season with a 5-4 record and turning the last 7 games into an extensive on the job training program for Eli? Well, its hard to say. Yes, in the long run it was probably the best thing for Eli, but Coughlin is not exactly what you would call a “players coach” to begin with, and tanking the rest of the season for Peyton’s Prima Donna little brother (remember the whole draft fiasco where he held the Chargers hostage) probably didn’t go over that well with a veteran team.

Coughlin probably would have been better served giving Kurt Warner enough rope to hang himself, and then insert Eli for oh say the last three games, or something like that. That would have at least, you know, made sense. Instead he chose to piss off his whole roster and lose them forever. Lots of luck with that, Tom.

DALLAS COWBOYS 6-10 3RD PLACE TIE NFC EAST 14th NFL Total Offense, 13th NFL Total Defense

Here’s a year in the life of the Hall of Famer, Coach Tuna. First, Quincy Carter was released under mysterious circumstances. Apparently you can only do cocaine and play for Bill Parcells if your name is Lawrence Taylor. If you are Lawrence Taylor, then Parcells doesn’t have a problem with it. If you are Quincy Carter you get released. Go figure. So, into the season the Boys went with Parcells’ college roommate Vinny Testaverde under center.

Parcells also decided at the beginning of the season that he was going to teach young running back Julius Jones, whom he saw as soft, a lesson, and refused to play him over a washed up Eddie George. Jones later came back later in the year, and was so soft that he ran for about 150 yards a game in his first few starts.

Then, to further put his iron stamp on the team, his Fishness turned his attention to wide receiver Antonio Bryant, who was the team’s leading receiver early in the year. This was until Bryant did something to upset the temperamental Mrs. Doubtfire, er, Parcells. When Bryant came to, somebody named Luke McCown was underthrowing him by five yards in Cleveland.

With the team mired in the suckiness of a 3-7 record with Vinny at QB, Parcells finally decided to hand the reins of the team over to their supposed quarterback/third baseman of the future Drew Henson. This lasted for 2 quarters, and then Parcells decided he was hell bent on finishing 8-8 and getting thumped in the first round of the playoffs, so back in Vinny went. Vinny led a stirring second half comeback to beat the Bears on Thanksgiving, and the Cowboys were so inspired that they finished 6-10 and lost their season finale to a Giants team on an 8 game losing streak.

As hard as Parcells has tried to remake the Cowboys in his image, the Cowboys really don’t have an identity. What they do have is a coach who plays “my way or the highway” until he decides to leave, which should happen in approximately 365 days or so.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS 6-10 TIE 2ND NFC EAST 32ND NFL Total Offense, 3rd NFL Total Defense

Skins owner Dan Snyder, as we all know, fancies himself as Mark Cuban’s brain damaged younger brother. Oh that crazy guy, what hair brained scheme will he think of next?

His master plan for this year was to trade Champ Bailey for Clinton Portis. Portis looked like the second coming of Olandis Gary as soon as he put on the fabled burgundy pants.

Dan the Man would complete his overhaul of the offense by benching his young starter Patrick Ramsey, and bringing in the one man who looked exactly like the Indian on the side of their helmet to play quarterback, Mark Brunell. Not since Mark Rypien has a quarterback looked as much like that Indian as Brunell, and not since Rypien have the Redskins won a Super Bowl. It was all coming together.

The final stroke of genius was to bring in Joe Gibbs to lead the team to its former glory. Snyder saw the runaway success Mike Ditka had in New Orleans, Jimmy Johnson had with the Dolphins, Bill Walsh had in his second run at Stanford, and Michael Jordan had right down the street with the Wizards, and decided that yes, he wanted in too.

It was a plan so devilishly fiendish it could not help but succeed. 16-0? Why not 17?

As the season wore on, somehow, it became painfully apparent Snyder was foiled again. No matter. As we speak he has located and is excavating the grave of Vince Lombardi. Mooooowahahahahahhahahahahaha. Hail to the Redskins!!

NBA HOT LIST
Who’s hot in the NBA right now? Let’s take a look!
HOT- Steve Francis, Magic- Francis is hot as in hot and bothered. He was quoted as saying that since his “longtime companion” Cuttino Mobley was traded to the Sacramento Kings that he now has no reason to get up in the morning. It remains to be seen if Francis will now cozy up to new teammate Doug Christie and his bizarre hair. Another possibility is that he will become more chummy with the guy who is getting Mobley’s minutes, Hedo Turkoglu, who oozes continental charm. Fear not, Mr. Franchise, love is gonna find a way.

HOT- Magic Johnson, Lakers Executive- I just realized the other night that this dude has been HIV positive for almost 20 years now. 20 YEARS!?!?! Does this happen? The man will bury us all. Which leads me to a billboard I saw this week advocating HIV testing that read “Knowing Is Beautiful”. To me, I would think that finding out I have HIV sounds more, I don’t know, pants crappingly terrifying.

HOT- Damon Stoudamire, Blazers- All I know is 54 points in one game will buy you A LOT of weed, yo.

HOT- Vladimir Radmanovic, Sonics- Has been playing like the Russian Larry Bird recently. 23 points, 11 boards, 5 treys on Sunday. 25 points, 9 rebounds on Tuesday. Best player to wear #77 since Georghe Muresan, and much better looking.

HOT- Dan Dickau, Hornets- Does he still look like a Hobbit? I really haven’t seen him since he led mid major darlings Gonzaga to prominence. He has been consistently putting up 15 points and 7 assists though for the Hornets.

HOT- Joel Przybilla, Blazers- 22 rebounds vs. Sacto? Przybilla=GODZILLA!!

NCAA HOOPS-O-RAMA
The conference seasons are in full swing. Who are some of the teams you may be surprised to see in your bracket on Selection Sunday?

MIAMI, FL- The Canes are off to a 3-2 start in their first season in the ACC, where each win counts for a lot with the selection committee. This is including a win over NC State and a road win vs. Virginia. This comes after they stunk up the Big East last year with a 4-12 conference record. The mighty ACC has officially been taken down a peg, a whole peg!!

GARDNER WEBB- Gardner muh whuh? The Runnin’ Bulldogs have played more like Squattin’ Bulldogs in years past, but this year they are off to a 6-2 start in the Atlantic Sun conference and tied for the league lead.

TEXAS A&M- The Aggies went 0-16 in the Big XII last year. This year it’s a different story. They beat up on a weak non-conference schedule but proved their improvement is for real by giving Kansas all they could handle on the road and beating Texas.

GEORGETOWN- The Hoyas are back and if road wins over Pitt and Villanova didn’t prove it, a hard fought OT loss at Syracuse did.

PORTLAND ST.- The Vikings are pulling a worst to first in the Big Sky conference as of this writing.

CHARLESTON SOUTHERN- The Buccaneers are doing the same in the Big South. Yarrrrrr!!!

OLD DOMINION- Very quietly this team has been one of the best of the true mid-majors this year. The Monarchs are 15-2 and have wins over St. Joe’s, E. Carolina, TCU, and Kent St.

HOUSTON- Louisville, LSU, and Missouri are on this 11-6 team’s victims list. Phi Slamma Jamma 2000!

COLUMBIA- The Ivy season hasn’t really kicked off yet but Columbia is 10-4 and should be a contender for the league’s automatic berth that comes with its regular season title.

RIDER- The MAAC’s dominator of recent seasons, Manhattan, is down this year and Rider has seized the opportunity.

UMKC- The Kangaroos have battled back from an 0-7 start and are now 5-0 in the Mid Con.

SAMFORD- To be the man you have to beat the man and the Bulldogs have done that in the OVC by beating perennial OVC champ Murray St. on their way to a 4-0 start in conference play.

DENVER- A 3-0 start in the Sun Belt includes a win over league heavyweight UL Lafayette.

ST. MARY’S- If Gonzaga is a top 20 team, then the 16-4 Gaels, who beat Gonzaga and play in the same conference are too.

That’s pretty much a wrap for this week. Next column we will be dissecting the year that was in the NFC North, seeing who and what is hot in the NBA, and taking a look at offseason activity in MLB to see which teams are on the upswing heading into 2005. See you at the afterparty boy-os!

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