Tuesday, November 07, 2006

NFL 2006 Mid-Term Votes

It's that time again folks, time to exorcise our rights as Americans to vote for our leaders.
And since the First Tuesday in November coincides with the halfway point of the NFL season, what better way to decide the Best & the Worst of the '06 campaign so far.

68%-New Orleans Saints,6-2: predicted to be the dregs of the NFC South they not only lead that division but are tied (with about 8 other teams) for the 2nd best record in football, this after posting a 3-13 mark last year.

32%- Chicago Bears,7-1: not as big a surprise because they showed promise last year (11-5) and boast a strong defense, but no one expected 7-1 from a Rex Grossman-led team

78%-Baltimore Ravens,6-2: coming off of two mediocre seasons (6-10, 9-7) and with an aging Steve McNair as their marquee signee nobody thought these guys could be Super Bowl material. But McNair's leadership & toughness have meshed well with the always-solid Raven D to form a surprise playoff contender
22%-New England Patriots, 6-2: Stop, haters- even the most ardent Pats loyalist couldn't have predicted that their team would have been 1 win vs. the Mannings away from being the best team in the NFL after losing their top 2 receivers(Branch,Givens), the most clutch kicker in history (Vinatieri) and defensive leader(McGinest)

92%-Damon Huard(QB) Kansas City: pressed into action when starter Trent Green went down with a concussion in the season opener all the 10-year vet from Washington has done is gone 5-2, thrown for 1600+ yards with 11 TDs & 1 interception with passer rating (overrated stat) of 105.2, 2nd in the NFL. Oh, and brought KC back to the playoff race (with help from LJ.)
8%-Andre Johnson(WR) Houston: although he had stellar rookie & sophomore seasons Johnson's production dropped off last year(63recs, 688yds, 2TDs); but this year he has been the only bright spot (65recs, NFL-leading 752yds, 4TDs) for an awful Texas (2-6) team.

99%-Marques Colston(WR) New Orleans: hmm, why is he the landslide winner here? Oh maybe because he was the 3rd-to-last player chosen(#252) in the 2006 draft out of that 'notorious football factory' Hofstra and all he has done is outshine his mega-hyped rookie teammate Reggie Bust to the tune of 44 catches (10th in NFL) for 700 yards (4th) and 7 TDs(1st)-talk about bang for your buck; can you say 'Rookie of the Year'?
1%- Chester Taylor(RB) Minnesota: 708 yards (4th in the NFL) is well above & beyond what the Vikes, or any FF geeks, could have expected from this 5th year back from Toledo; his play has kept the Vikes in the playoff hunt.

76% Tampa Bay Bucs, 2-6: From an 11-5 NFC South-winning campaign to this 2-win travesty that cannot score (12.8PPG, last in NFC), can't run the ball (82.8YPG, 2nd to last in NFC) and can't stop the run (134 YPG, 2nd to last in NFC) in one year. Sure the quarterback situation is a disaster, but when a veteran defense is playing this poorly there's no way a rookie QB is going to be able to pick up the slack. firechucky.com anyone?
24%- Arizona, 1-7: the only reason the Cards don't rank higher is because even though people expected great things from this talented but underachieving bunch this year everyone's been saying that for like 3 years now, so it's no real surprise that they suck. The real surprise is how bad they suck, epitomized by that 20-pt collapse vs. the Bears; nice new stadium, though.

66%-Pittsburgh Steelers, 2-6: A post-championship letdown year is almost inevitable, but what's gone on in the Steel City this season makes the Red Sox 2005 season look like a dream. It started with Roethlisberger's poor Peter Fonda impersonation in the spring and following a trip to the emergency room to remove his appendix, continued right up through his awful 3 interceptions Sunday (for a league-leading 14); this team has fallen below bad and all the way to laughingstock. Can they bring the Bus back?
44%-Miami Dolphins, 2-6: Haa haahaha hahahahah... oh sorry, I was just remembering back to the preseason when all the 'experts' predicted that the Fins were not only going to unseat the Pats in the AFC East but go all the way to the Bowl, too. Good one, huh? Now this nut-job of a squad is team turmoil: their low-rent backup QB acquisition (Joey Harrington) is outshining their high-priced but banged-up bust (Duante Culpepper), and despite handing the Bears their only loss on Sunday there hasn't been much to enjoy in South Florida this fall- except on South Beach, of course.

Ben Roethlisberger(QB) Pittsburgh- he runs unopposed in this category due to how truly awful the Super Bowl-winning QB has been. He leads the league in freak accidents (2), interceptions (14), and wearing his hat on backwards while clapping on the sideline, and he has a paltry 72.2 QB rating (whatever that means.) Simply put, all the good things we heard about this overrated caretaker last year have been replaced by doubt, questions about his future as the leader of the team, and plenty of head-scratching over his Favre-like decision making. can you say One Year Wonder?

Reggie Bush(WR/RB/KR) New Orleans: another unopposed candidate. I know there is all the blahblahblah about him being this terrific, all-important receiver(he leads the NFC with 312 receiving yards as a RB), but he was taken with the #2 pick in the draft to be an elusive & deadly runner; so far, no show. The Heisman winner has a grand total of 207 yards on 81 carries for an Errict Rhett-like 2.6YPC. He's also got only 1 touchdown all season, that game-winning punt return vs. the Bucs. Plus he's being outshined by his teammate, the player chosen 250 spots behind him, Marques Colston. Toss in a holdout, USC troubles trailing him into the league, and various nagging injuries, and Mr. Bush better have a terrific 2nd half or he will officially earn the nickname Reggie Bust.

89%- Drew Brees to the Saints: even though Phillip Rivers had done well for the Chargers, Brees has proven to be the offensive lightening rod that can spark a team to playoff glory; he's 4th in the NFL in yards (2206) & TDs (14) and he is the reason the Saints are marching to the playoffs. With veteran wideout Joe Horn nursing various injuries all season and #2 overall draft pick Reggie Bust being, well a bust, the poised vet has calmly pulled the team together
and help give fans in the devastated Bayou area a reason to smile again.
11%- Tony Romo as Cowboys starter: as much as I love Drew Bledsoe, and that goes way back to his pre-Brady days as the leader of the Pats '96 AFC Championship squad, it was time for him to go as the QB for the 'Boys. I don't agree with how it was done- at halftime of a MNF game- but when you've got a mobile guy waiting in the wings it's time to sit the statue down, especially when that statue is throwing 2 terrible picks per game. Romo has provided instant results (65% completions, 6TDs), but has been shaky as well, but he is the right choice for this team now. Drew, thanks for the memories, bud.

1000%- T.O.D. to the Cowboys: this pickup would really be tragic if it weren't so freakin' funny. Watching the Tuna squirm as the Diva Receiva has infected the entire team from day 1- riding a stationary bike while dressed like a Tour-de-Francer; almost attempting to kill himself, then denying it; dropping balls & sparring with coaches- has been priceless to watch. Too bad it's a real NFL franchise he's destroying (his 3rd& counting), but how do you feel sorry when they made a deal with the devil?

53%-Week 7, Bucs 23, Eagles 21: maybe I'm biased because I was there and all, but c'mon, how do you go against a game-winning 62-yard field goal that came just minutes after an apparent game-winning 52-yard TD catch & run by the other team. I mean I felt the after effects of that one for 2 weeks.
37%- Week 9, Wash 22, Dallas 19: the only way to top that thriller is to have 3 potential game-winning field goals in the final minute, one blocked, one missed, and 1 allowed to take place because of a defensive penalty on the last play of the game; plus T.O.D. dropped a sure game-winning TD. Good stuff
5%- Week 6, Bears 20-pt. comeback at Arizona: tough category when a miraculous game like this places 3rd, but the fact that it was done against the Cards loses votes. Still, it was one of those "if I didn't see it, I wouldn't have believed it" games; actually people who saw it didn't believe it- even better.
5%- Week 3, The Saints are comin'...home: had to get this one in there because it was one of the most emotional games in recent memory. The Saints returned to their hurricane-ravaged home, the Superdome, to the pomp & circumstance of an election (U2 & Green Day!); then they went out and crushed the Falcons 23-3 like they were gnats as the new roof withstood the test of the charged up fans.

51%- Tyler Brayton's knee to Jerramy Stevens' groin: this just happened yesterday or it may have received more votes. In the waning moments of Oakland's humiliating MNF loss to the Seahawks, Raider DE Tyler Brayton got so fed up with pesky (and by pesky I mean he's an obnoxious pain in the ass who drops way to many balls to be talking so much smack) Seattle TE Jerramy Stevens that he pulled him up close and gave him a good swift knee to his nether regions, which oddly elicited smiles from Stevens (did he enjoy this?) But the ugly incident begs the question: which is worse, kneeing a grown man in the package or stomping on his head with a cleated size 15? the (male) voters choose 'A', but the league has yet to decide.
49% - Bad Albert stomps on Gurode's melon: tough season when a head-stomp places second, but what Titans DE Albert Haynesworth did to Cowboys center Andre Gurode's head in a game in Week 4 was bad enough to earn him a 6-game sit down and a place in the Cheap Shot Hall of Fame. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm watching the actual NFL or a WWE-style facsimile.
84%- LaDanian Tomlinson(RB) San Diego: this kid just seems to get better & better every year and this could be his best season yet- he's leading the league in total yards from scrimmage (1,151yds,) touchdowns (12) and runs of 20+ yards (6) while guiding the Chargers to the 2nd best record in the AFC. Oh and he's got a touchdown pass, as well, his 4th in 2 years. Nice.

Tiki Barber(RB) New York Giants: Ironically that percentage also equals the likelihood that the leading rusher in the NFL will retire at the end of the season as he says. If that is true we will be witnessing Barry Sanders redux because with 830 yards at the halfway point, 122 more than 2nd place Chester Tayler, to say he will be leaving in his prime is an understatement. He's the vocal & spiritual leader of the best team in the NFC (quiet Walleye, you know the Bears aren't for real), much like Ronde is in Tampa, and if he leads them to a Super Bowl it would be the ultimate cherry on a sweet career.

There you have it, the votes are in and the candidates are ready to make their acceptance speeches.
Once again please remember to go out and vote for your favorite party-approved partisan puppet today.
And thankfully those inane campaign ads will be off of our TV sets tomorrow- hooray!

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