William of Port Jefferson, N.Y., wants to know the scheduling process that gave the unbeaten Patriots a soft schedule. The softness comes from playing six divisional games against three teams that had losing records last year. Elsewhere, if you compare their schedule to those of other AFC East teams, you'll find that all of them face the NFC West and AFC West, The difference comes in two games against a team in the AFC North and AFC South. Those are graded.
The Patriots, the No. 1 team in its division, faces the No. 1 North team (Pittsburgh) and the top club in the South (Indy). That's 23 combined wins last year. Buffalo, the No. 2 team, picked up a pair of deuces, Jax and Cleveland (21 wins). The Jets got the threes, Cincy and Tennessee (20) and Miami got the bottom clubs, Houston and Baltimore (13). (Dominic, this is a long boring interlude in the midst of a column that should be bubbling with effervescence, and as long as you keep selecting for me this tiresome schedule complaint, things won't get better. In fact, you might have to deal with a blown mind.)
(Editor's Note: What were you saying, Z? I fell asleep...)
Richard of Fond du Lac, Wisc., where people shock easily, is shocked the Pack is starting the season with a QB who has never started and has "about 30 snaps." (Actually 59 passes thrown, lifetime, plus other snaps in which he handed the ball off, knelt, fumbled or other stuff). Has this ever happened before on opening day, and when and where and to what teams? Well, Richard -- I may call you Richard, may I not? -- this has happened every time a team has had a rookie starter on opening day. My secretary, Screwy Lewie, is compiling the list for you. He is up to 45,000, going back to the Oorang Indians of 1922, and says it should be ready by Arbor Day.
Matt of Madison, Wisc., wants to know where the term, The Turk, comes from. I first heard it in the 1950s. Some say it goes back to the '40s, with no significant proof. Contrary to accepted belief, The Turk, is not the coach who does the actual cutting of a player (Turk with the long scimitar, inflicting cuts, etc.); rather, he's the person who first tells the player about to be cut, "Coach wants to see you. Bring your playbook." It's an onerous task, generally handed to low ranking personnel, such as ball boys or assistant trainers. It is also used as a verb. I once heard two ballboys talking in the Jets' camp. "They got you Turking tonight?" one said. "Yeah, I'm the Turk," said the other.
Don of Lansing, Kansas, is mystified why a veteran such as Fred Taylor was run in for giving police a hard time outside a bar, or was it a "club?" Don says he will take on the job of baby-sitting these guys for a salary commensurate with the risk involved. Don't laugh. Some clubs have hired people to handle things such as this. The Dolphins have an old time federal agent named Stu Weinstein who troubleshoots players who get busted...check that...doesn't sound right...who does troubleshooting work for players who hit the night spots too hard. I agree with you. It's weird, isn't it....the lure of the club, the willingness to sacrifice everything for...for what? Showing off? Letting the temper run wild? Battling for a lady's honor...actually dishonor in more cases.
Nice compliment from Kevin from Madison, and thank you, but hey, what's the deal with this influx of Wisconsin letters? Oh, comma, I see. This is Madison, Miss. Sorry, Kevin. Now what's on your mind. Doesn't like Jerry Jones. Sees him as another Dan Snyder. My thoughts? There might be stuff not to like, for sure. But at least he was a football player and knows the game, a contrast with you know who. Personally I like him. Don't know whether or not he still does this, but he used to talk to every player released and thank him for the time he'd spent with the club.
At the league meetings in Phoenix one year, we were entertaining my wife's older brother and his wife at one of the parties. Jerry Jones came by and went out of his way to be particularly friendly to my brother in law. I can't think of another owner who would even have thought of it. I don't forget stuff like that. Nope, I like Jerry. Made the Redhead happy, made her family happy, made me happy.
This is a tough one, from someone who signs it "Die Hard Niners Fan," no less. "Dr. Z needs to go to the movies or rent some so he can quote movies from the past half century." That's awfully cold, mister. The reason why I quote old movies is the screenplays were better in those days. And we'll leave it at that.
Some very nice sentiments from Greg of Boynton Beach, Fla., and in the form of sincere thanks I'm going to give you a bit of history. Do you know who Boynton Beach is named after? It's Dr. Samuel J. Beach.
My old TV partner, Brookie Decker, brings up the rear...no wait a minute, I sure as hell did not mean it like that. The last two queries are about Brooklyn and they come from Wes the Mess from Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Sonny from Rockford, Ill. Q1: Where is she? Q2: Another Z Said, She Said this year? Sorry, fellas, I sure could use the extra dough but Brookie's headed for the bombs of matrimony. And who's the lucky future groom, you ask? Drum roll, please. America's best tennis player, Andy Roddick.
For those of you who vainly seek