Checking the NFL list twice for naughty and nice
Posted: Wednesday December 18, 2002 4:00 PM
By B. Duane Cross, CNNSI.com
Still have a few names on that Christmas gift list? The line forms at the back, Sparky.
In this season of merriment, here are a few things we'd like to give:
Hope -- that one William V. Bidwill trades himself to an uncharted island for a coconut to be named later. If there's one Gilligan in the NFL, he's it.
Prosperity -- by way of a play-making wide receiver. If Michael Vick is to continue evolving, a go-to guy on the outside is a must.
Humility -- because Brian Billick has enough arrogance to go around. And that's not a bad thing; the Ravens still are playoff contenders.
Faith -- in Tom Donahoe. Peerless Price is a free agent, but Josh Reed is waiting to explode. There are major front-seven deficiencies to address.
Youth -- considering Rodney Peete and Chris Weinke were pollsters for Strom Thurmond when he finished behind Truman and Dewey. Or was it Dewey and Truman?
Gas money -- because with two road games left -- at Carolina, at Champaign vs. Tampa Bay -- the excuses are mounting in this economic environment.
Contraction -- period. To avoid the fewest victories in team history (3), the Bungles must win out vs. New Orleans and at Buffalo.
Love -- it's the only reason to root for a team that plays 60 minutes only to do what was expected at kickoff: lose with the game on the line.
Monopoly -- so the "get out of jail free" card can be played on Nate Newton's behalf. I'm sure Mark Stepnoski has a job waiting for ol' Nate.
Charity -- which is obviously lacking considering how reluctant the Broncos' defense was in losing to Indy and San Diego in Weeks 12-13.
U-Haul gift certificates -- as a parting shot for Matt Millen. And since he chooses to live in Pennsylviania, only a tow-behind will be needed.
Porcelain -- to build more pottys after fans relived themselves wherever convenient. ... By the way, has anyone seen Najeh Davenport?
Health -- so that Tony Boselli will be on hand to pick up whatever pieces are left of David Carr, who is on pace to be sacked 80 times.
Pity -- for every receiver not named Marvin Harrison, who has 127 receptions this year. Qadry Ismail, Reggie Wayne, Troy Walters and Drew Haddad have 84 -- combined.
Refrain -- from hearing injuries, or the salary cap, or any other fill-in-the-blank excuse. All things must end, including Tom Coughlin's tenure.
Kleenex -- which will be needed when Dick Vermeil sobs about the heart and passion his 32nd-ranked defense played with.
Cigars -- to puff on after another early playoff exit as Cris Carter retires -- again -- without winning the Super Bowl. Go ho-ho-home -- and stay.
Calculators -- to refigure the Randy Ratio. Moss has a career-high 93 catches, but his 12.1 average is a career low. It's how you get him the ball.
Reality check -- for those who trumpet the flavor of the month and forget it's a marathon, not a sprint, when building a contender.
Nothing -- what else does a team that has first-round draft picks coming out of its ears need? Well, OK, how about a Lucky Dog with relish?
A clue -- which has eluded Jim Fassel's team for most of the year. C'mon, a loss to the Doug Johnson-led Falcons? Sleep on that one this winter.
Boooooo! -- which is what Jets fans will do in April regardless of who's drafted. ... That Pennington kid turned out OK, didn't he?
Vitamin A 3333 IU (40 percent as Beta Carotene); Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) 55 mg; Vitamin D 200 IU; Vitamin E 13 IU; Vitamin K 80 mcg; Thiamine (Vitamin B1) 1.2 mg; Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) 1.3 mg; Niacin 15 mg; Vitamin B6 2 mg; Folic Acid 0.2 mg; Vitamin B12 2.5 mcg; Calcium 126 mg; Iron 9.5 mg; Phosphorus 98 mg; Iodine 130 mcg; Magnesium 32 mg; Zinc 14 mg; Selenium 35 mcg; Potassium 0.054 mg; Dibasic Calcium Phosphate Anhydrous; Niacinamide Ascorbate (Niacin And Vitamin C); Magnesium Oxide; Microcrystalline Cellulose; Zinc Oxide; dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E); Stearic Acid; Carbonyl Iron; Croscarmellose Sodium; Vitamin A Acetate (Vitamin A)/Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3); Silicon Dioxide; Pyridoxine HCl (Vitamin B6); Polyethylene Glycol 8000; Magnesium Stearate; Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1); Beta Carotene (Vitamin A); Vitamin A Acetate (Vitamin A); Polyethylene Glycol 400; Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12); Potassium Iodide; Sodium Selenate; Phytonadione (Vitamin K1); Carnauba Wax. Two percent or less of the following ingredients: FD&C Blue No. 2; FD&C Red No. 40; Titanium Dioxide -- in other words, Geritol.
Peace -- if Kordell is sent packing. But who'll be the whipping boy once Maddox returns to Tommy Turnover?
Understanding -- that it's not the building that makes a team. Just think of the Vet as an ex-wife: happy you're no longer married to her.
Cojones -- to decide between two-time MVP Kurt Warner and six-win phenom Marc Bulger.
Silk PJs -- which slide right into the out-of-the-playoffs bed that Marty Schottenheimer made for the Chargers.
55-gallon drum -- of mustard to cover the league's biggest hot dog. Yo, T.O., the Niners were still losing when you shook your bon-bon.
Mirth -- nothing else to do but spread the gaiety when Mike Holmgren waddles off. After all, his lasting legacy will be those laughable uniforms.
(920) 496-5700 -- There's the number, Warren Sapp. Ask for Chad Clifton; I'm sure his holiday season is full of comfort and joy.
Grit -- no, not the Waffle House special. Grit, as in courage, because Steve McNair has used up the team's bounty this season.
Luck -- because Daniel Snyder is going to need a lot of it to convince players to sign the Skins' dotted line. Then again, a lot of folks wanted to join the circus when they were kids.
Merry Christmas to one and all.
In three games vs. Chiefs, Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson has 60 carries for 254 yards and three TDs. He also has 14 catches for 109 yards. Kansas City's Trent Green, who spent 1993 with San Diego but did not play, has 23 TD passes, the most by a K.C. QB since Bill Kenney posted 24 in '83.
Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan is 12-3 vs. Raiders, and 5-2 at Oakland. Broncos' Rod Smith has 59 catches vs. Raiders in the past eight meetings (7.4 per game). Oakland head coach Bill Callahan is one of two first-year head coaches (Buccaneers' Jon Gruden) leading a division after Week 14.
Steelers are 4-2 in road games against NFC teams on Monday Night Football. Buccaneers are 1-5 vs. Pittsburgh and have scored only 81 points (13.5 per game). Tampa Bay's Derrick Brooks needs one touchdown to tie the NFL record for most TDs on turnovers in a season (5 -- Ken Houston, 1971).
||Receptions needed by Packers’ Bubba Franks to pass Paul Coffman (56) for most in a single-season by a Green Bay TE.
||Rushing yards needed by Giants’ Tiki Barber to join Joe Morris as the only players in team history with 1,200 yards in a season.
||Career winning percentage for Dolphins’ Jay Fiedler (29-11), tops among active QBs with at least 20 starts.
More in By the Numbers
Sixth sense |
Only six times since 1978 ('79-81, '85, '87 and 2002) has a conference not had any teams qualify for the playoffs with two weeks to go. All six times, it's been the AFC. And there is the outside possibility that the AFC could go into the final week of the season without a team qualified for the playoffs.
Merry birthday |
The only active NFL player born on Christmas Day is Jacksonville G Chris Naeole, who turns 28. A few other notable former players -- Ken Stabler (57), Larry Csonka (56) and Dan Pastorini (53) -- will blow out the candles on their birthday cakes after unwrapping Christmas presents.
Saturday night, live |
Three games will be played Saturday this week: 1:30 EST p.m., Miami at Minnesota; 5 p.m., San Francisco at Arizona; and 8 p.m., Philadelphia at Dallas. The Dolphins (10-4, .714) and Cowboys (8-5, .615) are among the top teams in Saturday winning percentage since 1970 (minimum of five games).
CNNSI.com's Joseph Leavitt suggests most leagues do not allow trades that would impact games this year. That's why it's time to focus on what you can do for the future of your team. Make a move to improve your keeper or dynasty team league with the Investment Trade so you can start out smoking next season. . For more insider info, check out this week's Trading Places.
Surf over to Fantasy Central for more insight and analysis.
Charles Grant, DE, New Orleans|
26 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 TD
Grant burst onto the Saints' scene with a sack in his first game after being the No. 25 overall pick (obtained from Miami in the Ricky Williams trade) in April's draft.
Grant started 23 of 31 games after making his way into the starting lineup midway through his freshman year at Georgia. He recorded 136 tackles (71 solo) with 15 sacks and 27 stops for losses with the Bulldogs, and his 15 sacks are sixth on the school's all-time list.
A cousin of Denver DE Kavika Pittman and Chicago DE Phillip Daniels, Grant has 26 tackles this year with four sacks and one fumble recovery. He also scored his first touchdown Nov. 10 at Carolina with a 34-yard fumble return.
Grant's four sacks are third among NFC rookies (Julius Peppers, 12; Kalimba Edwards, 5 1/2).
Last week's topic: What is the most impressive all-time NFL record?
Brett Favre's consecutive games for a quarterback record is truly incredible; it's a rough game out there! What he's been able to do -- playing through pain and taking care of himself -- is the most impressive thing in sports.
Adam -- Atlanta
I know it is an unofficial record, but ... the 148 career victories by John Elway (47 of which were fourth-quarter comebacks). Considering that Elway didn't have Terrell Davis until the 13th year of his career, I think this is staggering. Elway won 30 more games than Joe Montana, who played played with Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Dwight Clark, Roger Craig ... you get the picture.
Alex -- Nashville
The 48 touchdowns by Dan Marino in 1984 is unbelievable -- as are the 5,084 yards passing in the same year.
Bill -- Boston
Paul Hornung scoring 176 points in the 1960 season. Considering it was a 12-game season at the time, that means he averaged 14.7 points a game. For 25 years now the season has been 33 percent longer than in 1960, yet still the record stands.
Byron -- Green Bay
Jerry Rice has a plethora of records, but easily the most special is that a receiver, not a running back, is the leading touchdown scorer of all time.
Cameron -- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Jim Brown's 5.2 yards per carry during a nine-year career. "Sweetness" and Emmitt may have broken his rushing yards record, but that per carry average is why it took them so much longer.
Chris -- Cleveland
Fred Dryer recording two safeties in one game. Not only is it the single-game record, but it is also the single-season record. And he is one helluva actor.
Dan -- Seminole, Fla.
The Buccaneers tie themselves for this one: 1) Consecutive string of losses when the franchise was created, and 2) having never returned a kickoff for a touchdown in their entire history.
David -- Tampa, Fla.
Is there any doubt? Has to be Johnny Unitas throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games. This is comparable to Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. Neither will ever be broken.
Don -- St. Joseph, Mo.
| What would you give your team for Christmas?|
B. Duane Cross is a senior producer for CNNSI.com.
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