The NFL season is almost upon us – I know this because Ron Jaworski emerged from his NFL Films vault and didn’t see his shadow – and I am reminded that it is not so much a league of gentlemen as it is a league of quarterbacks. Here are the ones I’ll be following most closely in 2009:
Jay Cutler: Couch Slouch missed the memo on Cutler, the one that talks about him having the strongest arm since David (yeah, that David, who not only slay Goliath with a powerful slingshot but did it off his back foot) and being a “difference maker” and having bottled ice water in his veins and being, quite possibly, one of the top five QBs in the league.
No, the Jay Cutler I know had a 17-20 record in three years with the Broncos and an 11-34 record in four years at Vanderbilt. Then again, he was 26-1 his final two years in high school, which means the city of Chicago should be excited about him if he’s enrolling at Northside College Prep.
Mark Sanchez: As soon as the media declared that Sanchez was the greatest thing since the combine harvester and that the Lions had taken the wrong QB (Matthew Stafford) with the overall No. 1 pick in the draft, I realized the pretty boy from Southern Cal was going to be a pretty big bust. Because, as a rule, when the media and/or public go one way, it’s a pretty safe bet to go the other way.
Sanchez has movie-star looks and throws a nice pass. If he can act, Hollywood should cast him as a quarterback in its next big football blockbuster. As for playing a quarterback in real life in New Jersey, I think he’s going to be more Turnpike Mark than Broadway Joe.
P.S. I hope he adjusts to the pay cut, coming to the NFL from USC.
Tom Brady: He’s got the hair, he’s got the eyes, he’s got the teeth, he’s got the car, he’s got the supermodel wife; he’s the lead singer in the band. He could be midway through the most storied career of any NFL quarterback ever. He also hasn’t thrown a pass in a regular-season game in nearly a year.
Frankly, if Brady played for any other coach than Bill Belichick, I’d be a huge fan. It’s hard to root against Brady, but it’s impossible to root for Belichick. This causes me a lot of sleepless nights on the sofa – my preferred resting place when Toni, aka She Is The One (And Then Some), benches me – and I am on largely dependent on Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin keeping Brady and Belichick out of the Super Bowl.
Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick: Let me say this about the Eagles: The city of Philadelphia does not deserve Andy Reid or Donovan McNabb. The coach and the quarterback have given those fans a great decade of football and, in return, the fans dump on them at the first sign of trouble. All things considered – if I were Reid or McNabb – I’d rather be in the Philippines.
Let me say this about the unceasing Michael Vick commotion: He committed a crime, he was convicted of the crime, he did prison time for the crime and now – best I can tell according to U.S. law and custom – he is allowed to work again despite the crime. Which, in Philadelphia, means that if he throws a couple of interceptions, they’ll run his butt right back to Leavenworth.
Brett Favre: Yes, we’re all suffering from Favre fatigue, but are you trying to tell me you haven’t circled Oct. 5 and Nov. 1 on your calendars to mark the Packers-Vikings games? Imagine Elvis rising from the dead and returning to Graceland – then you’ll have an idea of the hype that will accompany No. 4’s reappearance at Lambeau Field.
Then again, as one of my readers, Paul Wernecke of Milwaukee, wonders: What’s the big deal about Favre going to the Vikings? He’s thrown to them in the past.
(Coming next week: Your new Team of Destiny!!!)
Ask The Slouch
Q. Pitchers take part in “simulated games” before doing the real thing. Did you ever consider taking part in a “simulated marriage”? (Robert Navarette; Milwaukee)
A. Yes, but I find it difficult to simulate realistic game conditions that prepare me for the months-long grind of most of my marriages.
Q. On ESPN’s Little League World Series telecasts, they put up the pitch speed and also what it would be at the MLB level. How come ESPN doesn’t do the same thing when it televises Nationals games? (C.J. Tompkins; Denver)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. Can Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr. sell the team under the provisions of the federal government’s “cash for clunkers” program? (Austin Blum; West Sand Lake, N.Y.)
A. Another buck-and-a-quarter, no waiting.
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