.


.

Show me, don't tell me, You've figured out the score...Show me, don't tell me, I've heard it all before...Show me, don't tell me, I don't care what you say...Show me, don't tell me...You can twist perceptions, Reality won't budge...You can raise objections, I will be the judge...And the jury...I'll give it due reflection, Watching from the fence...Give the jury direction, Based on the evidence...I, the jury...Show, Don't tell

Sep 2, 2004

The SmithMan Prophecies


As a general rule, I don’t mind preseason predictions when it comes to sports. But honestly, there are just too many human variables involved for anyone to accurately forecast how a season is going to play out. And with the NFL it’s even more of a crapshoot due to the current level of parity that exists. Nevertheless, every year without fail, dozens of blowhard tackling dummies crawl out from underneath blocking sleds to definitively tell us who’s going to “Run away with their division”, “Finally make the playoffs”, “Surprise a lot of people”, “Make a legitimate run at a wild card spot”, and of course, who’s going to “Win the Super Bowl!” Each one of these magical fortune tellers hoping to get lucky, guess correctly on at least one of the Super Bowl teams, then parlay it into a year’s worth of bragging rights or some advertising fodder for their Members-Only/Fast Track-to-Bankruptcy website.

Do me a favor, raise your hand if you picked the Carolina Panthers to win the NFC last year. Liar. How ‘bout the Chargers in ‘97? Big fat liar.
The Falcons in ‘99? Liar and a cheat. How about the Rams in 2000?
Uh, to quote Tanya Harding’s ex-husband, “You’re a liar and a felon!” The Bengals or Niners in ’81? Liars, liars, liars, Damn Liars, every last one of you!!
Those out-of-nowhere runs were virtually unfathomable before each of their respective seasons began. And for every rags-to-riches story there are even more stories of teams that underachieved, stumbled, and choked their way from expected greatness to disappointing mediocrity due to injuries, suspensions, bad calls, bad coaching, bad bounces, etc, etc, etc… -all human elements that affect how a team performs yet can’t be predicted with any semblance of certainty whatsoever.

And just for the record, anyone who tells you that they KNOW who’s going to win the Super Bowl is also a person who has no problem uttering phrases like “I can get you in a good car for real cheap”, or “I absolutely guarantee a return of twenty five percent on your money”, or “Ma’am I assure you, this is not a pyramid scheme”. Run away from that guy. Correction: check to make sure your wallet is still on you, then, run away from that guy.

Forecasting an NFL season before it begins is almost as difficult as trying to predict the mood of Anna Nicole Smith after a late night trip to the medicine cabinet. That’s why you won’t see the NFL mentioned in any of Nostradamus’ quatrains. Here’s a guy who, hundreds of years ahead of time, predicted such events as the rise and fall of Napoleon, Adolph Hitler’s reign of terror, the Great Fire in London, the assassination of JFK, and the disturbing yet surprisingly successful career of Andy Dick (see quatrain 346). Yet even Nostradamus didn’t have the stones to fire out a guess on anything NFL-related. As far as I can tell, the only person to accurately pick Super Bowl champs on a regular basis was Biff in Back to the Future II, and he had the help of the Sports Almanac he snagged while joyriding in Doc Brown’s DeLorean.

So, I don’t spend time reading or making preseason predictions on the NFL. I’d rather gargle grease from a pan of chicken wings that read why Joe Hack in Toledo says the Browns will go 7-9. Not 6-10, not 8-8, 7 AND 9! Why? Because Joe says so. Well, if it’s all the same to Joe, and he doesn’t mind, I say we let the teams play the full schedule anyway & see what happens.
And I’ve never wanted to play the role of prognosticator, either.
I can think of way better ways to lose credibility. Ones that involve Jagermeister shots, small-town strippers, and cleverly folded $2 bills.

However…………….
No one has ever told me that making predictions had to necessarily involve win-loss records and final standings.
Plus, no one’s ever told me that making predictions had to be backed with even a trace of any of pesky factual information.
And most importantly, no one’s ever told me that it couldn’t be a simple-yet-therapeutically refreshing rambling rampage of unfair ridicule directed at all 32 teams. And you know, I’m strangely comfortable with that. So at the risk of becoming what I despise, here are what I like to call The SmithMan Prophecies.

(I know, The Mothman Prophecies was a crap movie and it starred Ashton Kuthcher who I would really like to hit in the face with a shovel. Hell, I about ditched the SmithMan idea several times for those reasons. However, that film also starred Amy Smart, who is clearly the hottest blonde B-cup in Hollywood right now plus it’s a semi-decent play on words, so I finally decided that I’m okay with it. Thanks Amy. Let’s go.)


AFC NORTH

Browns-
Mr. Garcia, Welcome to Cleveland! I’d like you to meet our first-round draft choice, Kellen Winslow, Jr. He’s very tall, very strong, very fast, and is very outspoken. You might say he’s a lot like a young Terrell Owens. Yes, well um, I think I’m going to excuse myself now and let you fellas get acquainted. Oh and if there’s anything you need, just ring the bell or yell “Gimp!” and the fat guy with the dog mask will come right in.
SMP: Surprisingly, these two wind up hitting it off famously. Their friendship really blossoms after several trips by Kellen to visit Jeff in the hospital. The hospital? Yeah, I forgot to mention- the Browns’ offensive line kinda’ sucks.

Steelers-
Word on the street is that Tommy Maddox is trying to work out a new deal with the devil. Sources tell me that Maddox’ agent has tried to contact Satan but apparently the King of Darkness is very busy working on an extension for Jake Delhomme and has just finished inking Vinny Testaverde to a one-year deal.
SMP: If you don’t see a bandage on the back of Maddox’ neck by the end of training camp, assume Big Ben will be mopping up the season by Week 9.
And if you didn’t get that reference or the earlier one about the Gimp, do yourself a favor- grab a bag of Big Kahuna burgers and go back & watch Pulp Fiction one more time.

Ravens-
Well, it seems as if the Ravens have a few things working against them. First of all, there’s that little Jamal Lewis drug trafficking trial thingy. Then there’s the fact that Ray Lewis is defying the football gods by appearing as the latest coverboy for the EA Sports Madden video game. If that isn’t enough, second-year quarterback (God-Dammit Kyle!) Boller is coming off of an injury as well as a pretty shaky first season. And of course there’s also the constant issue of Brian Billick’s out of control ego. However, the Ravens still have the best O-line, the best linebackers, and the best secondary in division, if not the conference.
SMP: At the risk of sounding like Jackie Chiles, I’d have to say that this team’s upcoming season can be summed up in four words: Probation, Deterioration, Trepidation, and Overinflation.


Bengals-
There’s nothing quite like a good stadium chant. It’s like listening to a beautiful church choir, only without all the religion and avoidance of sin & stuff. And finally, FINALLY there’s a star football player named Rudy (or at least Rudi).
Roo-Dee!, Roo-Dee!, Roo-Dee!
It’s been eleven years since that movie came out & I’ve been waiting patiently ever since (almost giving up hope on several occasions) for a player who would give a crowd the reason to revive that one. Thank you, Rudi Johnson. And God bless you sir.
By the way, I’m still waiting for chant-worthy players with the following names: Rocky, Reggie, Jerry, Attica, and Toga.
SMP: The Swami, a.k.a. Chris Berman, a.k.a. ESPN’s Fat Hack Comb-Over Bastard Who Loves Deep-Fried Foods and the Sound of His Own Voice More Than Life Itself, has picked the Bengals to finish last in the AFC North. Last. Well, when Cincinnati wins the AFC North, I shall submit his prediction as Exhibit J in a motion to not only have him removed from the air but also to be beaten mercilessly with dead catfish and dumped into the Ohio River.


AFC SOUTH

Texans-
Quick, name three starters for the Texans. ……Any positions. I’ll give you one- David Carr. ……Okay, I’ll give you two- David Carr and Andre Johnson. ………Anybody?…………Bueller?
And another thing; I know that it’s supposed to be in reference to the Texas state flag, but doesn’t the dead cattle scull on the side of the Texans’ helmets look like it’s a really big fan of Paul Stanley from KISS?
SMP: Gene Simmons threatens legal action against the Texans unless they agree to sell KISS memorabilia in the souvenir stands at Reliant Stadium and also allow his skanky Skinemax girlfriend Shannon Tweed to be an honorary cheerleader.
The team flounders amidst the turmoil.


Jaguars-
Last year, Jags head coach Jack Del Rio put a symbolic ax and wood stump in the locker room with a sign reading “Keep Chopping Wood”. Cute, right? Cute until punter Chris Hanson accidentally clanked the ax off of the stump and directly into his left shin, requiring a four-hour surgery to repair the damage.
This year, no more axes. Although he briefly considered the idea of having some exposed live wires & a sign reading “Shock the World”, coach Del Rio is instead just going to go with a sign above Hanson’s locker that reads:
This is That Guy.
Don’t be That Guy
.”
SMP: Hanson will hurt himself tearing down the sign.


Titans-
You’ve heard that joke about country music, right? The one that goes, “What do you get when you play a country song backwards?
- You get your wife back, your truck back, your dog back…….”
Well, in Music City, they’re probably wishing they could play this offseason backwards & get Jevon Kearse, Justin McCareins, Robaire Smith and Eddie George back. Sure, Jeff Fisher is a very good coach and yes, he does have a world-renowned cookie duster above his upper lip, but losing that many good players may be a little too much for even him to overcome.
SMP: Long season in Nashville spurs dozens of young, aspiring country songstresses/honkytonk hosehounds to pen more sad ballads which will someday be performed in the “Here’s a couple of songs I wrote myself” portion of twice-daily performances from a stage in-between the log flume and the sno-cone cabin in Dollywood.

Whoooh………..deep breath………

Colts-
The Dolphins aren’t the only team that no longer has a running back named Ricky Williams. The Colts said goodbye to their own Ricky Williams this past offseason. This Ricky Williams does not have dreadlocks, does not smoke weed (as far as we know), and did not leave his team so that he could “find himself” while hunting for ganja in the mountains of Asia. No, this Ricky Williams is 5’7” 195 lbs., a graduate of Texas Tech University, and a Virgo who likes long walks on the beach, white wines, and quietly relaxing with family & friends. The Colts released him and he’s available for any team to sign. Any team. Such as, oh, say, the Dolphins should they so desire.
SMP: The Colts will not miss either Ricky Williams.



AFC EAST

Dolphins-
Speaking of Ricky, is it really any surprise that a guy who came into the league with Master P. as his agent winds up leaving the league to smoke the ganja? Ricky’s retirement leaves Miami’s offense about as potent as a 6-pack of O’Doul’s with a Diet Rite chaser. And to make things worse, the Dolphins next-best offensive player is David Boston who, now that Ricky is retired, is one of five finalists for Biggest Head-Case in the NFL. Oh, and by the way, this just in: David Boston is out for the season with a shredded left knee.
(You know, every time I hear someone say “David Boston”,
I immediately think of David from The Real World: Boston.
KARA! KAARAAAAAH!!!)
SMP: No running game, no passing game, and Dave Wannstedt gets fired before Week 14. But not before his mustache resigns first, leaving Wannstedt and the Dolphins to join the rest of its’ family in the adult film industry.


Jets-
The good news: Chad Pennington’s healthy.
The better news: He’s got Curtis Martin, Santana Moss, and newcomer Justin McCareins along with him.
The best news: Their owner’s name is Woody Johnson.
SMP: J!-E!-T!-S!, SUCK! SUCK! SUCK!
(you were expecting something different?)


Bills-
Here’s a riddle for ya’: How do you have the 2nd best defense in the NFL in 2003 & only win six games?
Answer: Your quarterback is Drew Bledsoe.
Bledsoe tossed twelve interceptions to only eleven touchdown passes and was pulled down for a league-high 49 sacks, ten of which resulted in lost fumbles. You can be sure that their new coach won’t stand for that kind of mularkey. ……….sorry.
SMP: The defense will get tired of losing games 10-6 and watching Bledsoe continue his flawless impression of a statue. Drew mysteriously disappears in what appears to be a somewhat curious snowmobile accident. J.P. Losman takes over in Week 10 and sparks the team while Bledsoe’s family waits anxiously for CBS to open up a CSI office in upstate New York.


Patriots-
This is as well-oiled a machine as we’ve seen in the NFL in a long time. As a matter of fact, one could argue that it’s the best well-oiled machine seen anywhere since Pam Anderson first rubbed on the Coppertone and squeezed into that red one-piece.
The Pats have an excellent head coach, the best big-game QB, the best big-game kicker, a top-notch defense,…..so there’s really only one question here: How long before Corey Dillon officially changes his name to Disgruntled Patriots Running Back Corey Dillon and disturbs a once-harmonious locker room?
SMP: After they lose to Cincinnati in Week 14.



AFC WEST

Chargers-
So let me get this straight; the Chargers wind up with the worst record in the league last season & get the first pick in the draft. The guy they want (Eli Manning) says he doesn’t want to go to sunny San Diego but the Chargers draft him anyway. Then they trade him for the fourth overall pick in the draft (Rivers) and say that this is the guy they wanted all along. He then proceeds to miss the first four weeks of training camp in a contract holdout because he wants to be paid as if he was the number one overall pick. All this, and the best QB in the draft (Roethlisberger) slides to the Steelers. Charger fans, I weep for thee.
SMP: The Bolts will put themselves in prime position to pick up the third-best wide receiver with the first pick in next April’s draft.


Raiders-
They always said Al Davis could clear a room. I took it to mean that he could do it with some gnarly gingivitis-breath rolling over his yellow teeth, but apparently he can also do it with a few pink slips.
Gone is Bill Callahan who was about two weeks away from getting a shank in his back, and in to replace him is Norvelous Norv Turner.
Also gone are twelve of last year’s starters, including Rod Woodson and long-time Raider Tim Brown. This kind of employee turnover is usually only seen in college bars and Asian massage parlors.
SMP: The 1280 combined pounds of newcomers Warren Sapp & Ted Washington will help the defense while rookie offensive linemen Gallery & Grove should help the offense. Now, if someone would help Rich Gannon to a rocking chair & let Kerry Collins sling the pigskin, they just might coax some smiles out of Ol’ Yeller Teeth.


Chiefs-
Dickie V’s squad led the league in points last season, scoring at a pace usually reserved only for porn stars who are trying to break gangbang records. On the flip side however, the KC defense ranked 29th in the league & spent their last eight games giving up 220 points, culminating in an embarrassing 38-31 loss at home in the playoffs to the Colts- a game in which Indy didn’t have to punt even once in the entire game.
So, how did the Chiefs front office decide to tackle (pun intended) this problem?
Well, they signed one, count him, one defensive free agent.
His name? Lional Dalton.
Sure, that should do the trick.
SMP: By Week 8, teams will start deactivating their punters for games against the Chiefs.


Broncos-
People I talk to are divided on three topics concerning this team:
1) Uniforms- The old orange ones or the newfangled navy ones?
2) Mike Shannahan’s teeth- Is he the long lost son of Fire Marshall Bill or is he just riding out some poorly fitted dentures?
3) The Portis/Bailey trade- Better for the Skins or for the Broncos?

For the record: I like the old Orange Crush unis, I suspect a bad set of fake choppers, and I’ll always, ALWAYS take a great cover corner over a great halfback.
SMP: Champ Bailey has another Pro Bowl season, the Broncos front office regrets trading Deltha O’Neal to move up in the first round only to pass on Stephen Jackson, and Coach Shannahan gets reunited with Fire Marshall Bill on a very special Oprah.


NFC NORTH

Bears-
Lovie Smith becomes the most famous “Lovie” since Mrs. Thurston Howell III hobbled off of the S.S. Minnow with her shade umbrella and reading glasses. Speaking of hobbling, Brian Urlacher a.k.a. The Human Tackling Machine may be nursing a sore hammy all season. And speaking of nursing, wasn’t there a dream sequence on one of the Gilligan’s Island episodes where Ginger wore a nurse’s uniform? That’s right up there with Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon, every Chrissy Snow tube top scene on Three’s Company (more on that in just a minute), Farrah Fawcett’s swimsuit poster, whenever the lovely Diane wore a bikini for the Showcase Showdown on The Price is Right, and Daisy Duke in her, well, Daisy Dukes.
These are the kind of things that should be collected and put into a Greatest Moments of the ‘70s for Horny Male Teens DVD.
SMP: Speaking of DVDs, word has it that NFL Films already has a working title for the Bears 2004 season in review:
Zzzzzzzzz…. The Hibernation Continues.


Lions-
Quarterback Joey Harrington suddenly finds himself surrounded by some talent on offense. Charles Rogers is back at wideout across the field from first-round pick Roy Williams, while Detroit’s other first-rounder, Kevin Jones, is in the backfield to tote the pig. You know, this could be the best collection of young talent since Aguilera, Spears and Timberlake teamed to raise the roof on The Mickey Mouse Club circa 1994.
SMP: M-A-R,… Are you ready? I-U-C,… See you in the playoffs?
C-C-C-C-I,…...
Uh, I don’t think so.


Packers-
Could be the last hurrah with Favre before the Tim Couch Era begins in Green Bay. Talk about a heavy case of dread, that’s gotta’ be one right there, boy. When Favre is gone I imagine it’ll be like the first Three’s Company season after Chrissy left. Everyone else was still there but it just wasn’t as funny or, okay I’ll say it, it just wasn’t quite as jiggly without her in the apartment. And while we’re on the topic, has there ever been a worse casting decision in sitcom history than following up Cindy with Teri? At least Cindy was pleasing to look at. They essentially went from Chrissy, a jiggly/busty/dingy blonde, to Cindy, a busty/dingy blonde, and then finally to Teri, a flat-chested/frigid/angry-at-the-world blonde.
How is that good for anyone? I mean, there must have been a producer’s wife behind this, right? And to make things worse, this happened at exactly the same time that Janet decided to start wearing Pat Benetar’s hair. What a tragic ending for that show.
SMP: Favre tries to rally the team for one last glorious run at a title, but a freak injury suffered by Ahman Green involving a Thigh Master is too much to overcome. Wait….wait…..ahh, there it is.

Vikings-
According to the official Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term “Viking” is defined as: “one of the pirate Norsemen plundering the coasts of Europe in the 8th to 10th centuries”. Sounds like some pretty tough traveling salesmen with ships full of fury, right? And how about their namesakes, the Minnesota Vikings? Well, these Vikings are just 1-16 outside on the road since 2001.
Please go back and read that last sentence again………..
That’s absurdly horrible. A few more bad trips outside of their dome and the league should force them to officially change their name to the Minnesota Agoraphobics.
(If you need it- http://www.phobialist.com/)
SMP: Culpepper, Bennett, and Moss (a.k.a. Teck from The Real World: Hawaii) finally get some help from their defense to get what they desperately need- home field advantage in the playoffs.



NFC SOUTH

Buccaneers-

Think you can’t go from “top of the world” to “bottom of the barrel” in less than two years? Just talk to The Backstreet Boys, O-Town, N’Sync, 98 Degrees, or ……….the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Much like Justin Timberlake & Nick Lachey, Warren Sapp and John Lynch made it out before the complete collapse.
(And no, I’m not gay)
But speaking of gay, who was a gayer puffy-shirt wearer:
the orange-faced guy on the old Bucs helmets or Johnny Depp’s character in Pirates of the Caribbean? When once discussing his Oscar-nominated performance, Depp said he was attempting to come up with a cross between a pirate and Keith Richards. Personally, I think he threw a little bit of Boy George in there, too.
SMP: Brian Griese takes over for Brad Johnson by Week 10 while angry fans show their displeasure by kidnapping Grammatica One and firing him out of a cannon aboard that end zone pirate ship.


Saints-
What’s black & gold and has very little talent?
Mr. T. …………and, of course, the 2004 New Orleans Saints.
Except for Deuce McAllister and a couple wide receivers, there’s not too much to get excited about here. And am I the only one surprised that Jim Haslett still has a job? How many times does this guy have to have a team quit on him? It’s beyond me.
And while we’re talking about the Saints, have you seen the movie Boondock Saints? If not, just trust me and go rent it. Especially if it’s your turn to pick the flick and you want to piss off your woman. Unnecessary violence, vulgar language, biting humor, Russian mobsters, Italian mobsters, strippers, exploding cats, and…. Willem Dafoe.
The fact that Dafoe wasn’t nominated for an Oscar or sat at the right hand of DeNiro for this performance is nothing short of a felony. Dafoe is the modern-day king of portraying a whack-job. Kevin Spacey is really good at it, Christopher Walken is great at it, Anthony Hopkins is unbelievably great at it, but Dafoe is in another stratosphere all to himself. Play a homosexual who hates gays? No problem. A scientist mutated into a green goblin? No problem. A horny Jesus Christ? Really, no problem.
The man is fearless.
The New Orleans Saints could use a guy like this as head coach. Or, as I take a look at their roster, even at cornerback.
SMP: Deuce McAllister puts up another 1,600 yards rushing as Coach Haslett leads them to, well, nowhere. Jimmy Hasbeen finally gets canned & is replaced by Jim Mora Sr. Upon arriving for his second tour of duty in New Orleans, Mora scans the roster & alerts the media not to expect "diddly-poo" out of this team until he can overhaul the defense.

speaking of the Mora Family....

Falcons-
Two interesting story lines going on here.
1) Apparently, Mike Vick has decided not to get his hair cut until he wins a Super Bowl, and 2) Jim Mora Jr. takes over for Dan Reeves as head coach this season.
And I propose that if Junior busts out with even one “diddly-poo” reference, he should immediately be nominated for an ESPY. Shouldn’t this be an ESPY category- Best Quote, or Best Postgame Press Conference, or maybe Best Meltdown? Why hasn’t this been done already? What in God’s name are we waiting for here?
SMP: No ESPY for Mora Jr., but Vick shows up at the awards sporting a Versace suit and Oscar Gamble’s 1978 afro.


Panthers-
Was I dreaming, or was Carolina in the Super Bowl last year? Everything’s a bit hazy after the vision of the bare nipple pierced my soul. Speaking of souls…….
SMP: As long as Jake Delhomme keeps placing pieces of his soul in an envelope and mailing them to Satan’s P.O. Box, the Panthers should run away with the NFC South.



NFC EAST

Giants-

Thanks to Eli Manning’s draft day antics, he can now find himself ranked right in-between Osama Bin Laden and Tony LaRussa at the top of my People I Hope To See Fail Miserably list.
SMP: Eli meets brother Payton at the Super Bowl!
……….in the hotel lobby to wish him luck and remind him to tug his ear & point to him and Daddy up in the stands during the game.


Cowboys-
Three words: Vinny. Testa. Verde.
Three more words: Key. Shawn. Johnson.
And three more words: Key. Lime. Pie. What? It’s late, it’s in the fridge, and I’m kinda hungry.
Last time Vinny and Keyshawn were together was 1998 in Jersey and the Jets went 12-4, losing the AFC Championship game in Denver.
That season, Vinny had 3,256 yards passing, 29 TD passes to only 7 INT’s, a QB rating of 101.6, and was elected to the Pro Bowl. Keyshawn had 1,131 yards receiving, scored ten touchdowns, and was also elected to the Pro Bowl.
The coach that year? Yep, it was the Tuna.
SMP: This ain’t 1998. Vinny’s old rag arm leads the NFC in interceptions, Keyshawn sets a career-high with twenty tackles (after said interceptions), Tuna gains 47 pounds due to depression-induced eating binges, and Jerry Jones tries to ease all the pain by getting yet another lift, thus pulling his face tighter than the sheets on a basic training army bunk.


Eagles-
Andy Reid’s Iggles have lost the last three NFC Championship games. That sucks. And I imagine it’s probably left a very bad taste in his mustache. That’s why they went out and signed two big-name free agents in the offseason.
The Freak and The Freakin’ Jackass.
The addition of Jevon Kearse and Terrell Owens is either going to send them over the top or go down as a horrible cap-crippling mistake. Kearse has seemingly been, well, uh, kearsed. He’s always just one step away from another serious ankle injury, and T.O. has been amassing a whole overhead compartment full of bad karma baggage. From getting Mariucci fired in San Fran, to the taunting display on the midfield star in Dallas, to the Sharpie shenanigan in Seattle, to whining his way out of a trade to Baltimore, to accusing Jeff Garcia of anti-heterosexual activity, this guy has some serious wrath forming in a cloud above him.
SMP: T.O. will turn out to be worse luck than that tiki idol on The Brady Bunch Goes to Hawaii. Look for Vincent Price to be sitting in a nearby cave eating baked beans out of a pot and guarding a tied-up Donovan McNabb by Week 12.


Redskins-
I was on the phone with my buddy Jason the other day, talking some football, when he asked me which of several running backs I liked best. I responded with the following sentence:
“I like Washington’s Clinton Portis.”
My wife, barely overhearing, says to me in a shocked tone:
“You like washing whose clitoris?”
And right at that moment I realized why he doesn’t go by “Clint”.
Go ahead, say it…….. Fun, huh?
SMP: New head coach Joe Gibbs will be a busy little beaver trying to clean up the mess left behind by Steve Spurrier, owner Dan Snyder will continue to do some fishy things behind the scenes, LaVeranues Coles will snatch a lot of passes from new QB Mark Brunell, LaVar Arrington will lead a defense that’s as tight as a clam, and…………….okay, I’m done.


NFC WEST

Niners-
Jeff Garcia. Gone.
Terrell Owens. Gone.
Garrison Hearst. Gone.
Dennis Erickson. Still the head coach.
I’m taking this as a sign that there is indeed a kind & just God.
SMP:The 49’ers road to the Number One Pick begins in just two weeks, right here on Fox!”


Cardinals-
You know, I thought the heat would get to Denny Green. In fact, I commented on draft day that the Arizona equipment guys should start fitting him for an outfit made entirely out of sponge.
But I was talking about the desert heat, not the heat from the Phoenix media. And apparently he’s already melting like a Fudgesicle under the scrutiny of the beat writers out there for some of his decisions, such as the release of popular offensive lineman Pete Kendall. One of the writers, implying that Green is a personality cross between Buddy Ryan and Buck Showalter, has dubbed him “Buddy Showalter”.
That’s not good.
I’ve interviewed Buck Showalter. Buck Showalter has the temperament of a wild boar with a hot coal jammed up its ass. And he has black eyes. Not brown. Black. You know when you get an eye exam and they fully dilate your eyes & for a couple of hours afterwards you look like some sort of demon spawn? Well, that’s Buck Showalter. It’s a special kind of spooky. And apparently Denny Green is just like him, only with a splash of Buddy Ryan. Sounds charming.
SMP: Buddy Show is working with a young quarterback, a young offensive line, injuries that will keep Anquan Boldin and Marcel Shipp out for at least the first few weeks, and not to mention, quite possibly the crap-crap-crappiest defense in the league. Thanks again for your league fees Mr. Bidwell.


Rams-
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; there’s just no good reason why this team isn’t called the St. Louis Cardinals.
Let’s finish the cycle already and move the Arizona Cardinals to L.A., change their name to the Los Angeles Rams and give “Cardinals” back to St. Louis where it belongs.
And while were at it, let’s give the name “Colts” back to Baltimore, changing the Baltimore Ravens to the Baltimore Colts. Then, the Indy team can change their name to the Indianapolis Crazy Horses.
No, wait, that might upset some sensitive types. Let’s make it the NativeAmericanapolis Crazy Horses. Furthermore, I submit that the league should issue a mandate forcing the Texans to change their name to the Houston Oilers and for the Titans change theirs to either the Tuxedos, Pride, Waltz, or Ernie Fords.
SMP: It’s gonna’ be fun watching Mike Martz in a transition year. Most of the fun will be in watching him assigning the blame to everyone else. By Week 10 he’ll be slinging it around like a hash cook in a mess hall, blaming his quarterback, the offensive line, the defense, his coaching staff, the referees, the fans, the turf, the cheerleaders, the end zone pylons, the scoreboard operator, a 54 year-old immigrant beer vendor named Luis, the trainers, the equipment manager, his mailman, his proctologist, the homeless, the elderly, sick children, sick orphaned children, abandoned pets, his own mother, and the letter “Q”.


Seahawks-
Was there a more beautiful scene last season than the one at midfield in Green Bay during the overtime coin flip of the Packers/Seahawks playoff game? You remember; Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck correctly calls the coin toss, then, not knowing there’s a boom mike positioned directly above his head, tells the official (and the 60,000-plus Packer fans in attendance) “We want the ball, we’re gonna score!” Forget the XFL, this was as close to a football-meets-pro wrestling moment as there’s ever been. All that was missing was for Hasselbeck to realize what he had done, turn to the crowd with an over-the-top horrified look on his face, then over to a cackling Vince McMahon holding the boom mike as Reggie McKenzie cracks Hasselbeck across the back of the neck with a folding chair.
SMP: Should you read anything into the fact that I saved the Seahawks as the last team? Does this mean I think they’ll be the last team standing? Maybe. Maybe not. Unless you’ve forgotten, I’m not into predictions.

Well there you have ‘em, The SmithMan Prophecies for the upcoming NFL season. I feel dirty. And yes, I do know that I’m rapidly approaching the 5,300 word mark. And yes, I also know that if you’ve read through this entire article from start to finish, you probably have kids ringing your doorbell yelling “Trick or Treat!” right about now.
So, let me quickly wrap things up by expressing my hopes for yet another entertaining NFL season and by offering up my sincerest wishes with this abbreviated variation on a popular Irish blessing:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your favorite team,
Or at least on the team on which you bet the most Jack.

Thank you for your attention. You may now go back to your regularly scheduled lives, already in progress.
(Unless of course you’re at home and didn’t sell out by 5pm on Thursday. In that case, you’ll have to watch the life of someone in a neighboring region. Enjoy.)


















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