Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The NFL In A Nutshell

* Not all of the herein reported events may have occurred precisely as I describe them. Then again, they may have. I leave it to your discretion, dear reader (then again, that is deluding myself into believing that I have readers).

** This post contains the advised daily serving of BRETT FAVRE for your sports-fan health.

Since my last post on March 25, 2008 (a total of 141 days for those of you keeping score at home) a great many things have happened in the wonderful world of football. Training camps opened, for a start, and every Lions/Dolphins/Jets fan has talked him/herself into believing that the acquisition of Gosder Cherilus/Jake Long/TEHHH CHEESEHEAD GODDD!!!11 (BRETT FAVRE) will get them back to the playoffs for the first time since John Madden began walking upright. Teams got a look at their new finds from the 2008 draft, particularly some who were relying on fresh blood to lead the offense. Boston College's Matt Ryan (the first quarterback off the board, taken at #3 overall by the quarterback-challenged Falcons) inaugurated his new life as Michael Vick's successor by going to a production of Oklahoma! with a teammate and looking terrifically awkward when a camera caught him, but then threw for 113 yards and a TD in his first preseason game, raising everyone's hopes that they have a signal-caller who a) is competent at the job and b) doesn't have a side hobby involving cruelty to animals. Delaware's Joe Flacco, the second quarterback taken (#18 by Baltimore) looked as if the Ravens' modus operandi of fail had rubbed off on him, losing a fumble on his first snap and completing precisely zero of three passes, but still probably looking better than Kyle Boller, who may win the job again by default.

Hawaii's Colt Brennan, the former Heisman Trophy finalist who saw his draft stock slip dramatically after a bad Sugar Bowl showing, made his pro debut with the Redskins, who picked him in the sixth round (186 overall) and looked good in his first showing under quarterback guru Jim Zorn -- he finished the Hall of Fame Game against the briefly Manning-less Colts with 9 completions in 10 attempts, 123 yards, and a pair of touchdown passes. (BRETT FAVRE) San Diego State's Kevin O'Connell, taken in the third round (94th overall) by the New England Patriots, asked himself if God hates him and does not want him to play football, a question that resident sports theologian Matt Cassel has been struggling with for years. Louisville's Brian Brohm and LSU's Matt Flynn (taken 56th overall and 209th overall, respectively, by the Green Bay Packers) briefly wondered the same thing but then accepted Aaron Rodgers' breathless, euphoric, and misspelled e-mail invitation to join "A-Rod's Pack o' Thugz." Washington State's Alex Brink, the thirteenth quarterback off the board (#223 by the Texans) enjoyed a nice breeze and wondered if a seventh-rounder's signing bonus is enough to buy a Maserati. (BRETT FAVRE)

Speaking of quarterbacks (BRETT FAVRE) Tom Brady put up his "injured" foot, took a bath in Cristal and $100 bills to remind himself that he's still cooler, wealthier, better-looking, more successful, and gets laid more by a supermodel than you, Eli Manning got married and wondered why everyone suddenly liked him, Peyton Manning had surgery to remove an infected bursa sac from his knee, hoped to be ready for the regular-season opener, and made himself such a giant irritant to Ashley Manning by sitting around the house, bitching, and constantly watching game film of his 2006 AFC Championship win over the Patriots that she made him go wash Tony Dungy's car. Five times. BRETT FAVRE retired, unretired, retired, unretired, and made Cheesehead Nation spontaneously combust before returning to the Packers, getting messily divorced from them a few days later, and going on his merry way to the Jets, where we are now treated to (I'm serious) stories about how he had to run a penalty lap since he fumbled a snap. Fans across the Meadowlands reacted in delight, both to the fact that one of their teams had acquired an aging gunslinger (BRETT FAVRE) with a penchant for interceptions and bad facial hair, and the other had, I dunno, oh yeah, beaten some team with a really good record in the Super Bowl. In other news, BRETT FAVRE will also supplant Eli Manning, Trent Edwards, that Brady guy, Kyle Boller, and every other quarterback on the Eastern Seaboard, while breaking every record in existence and nailing your wife.

In other news, there was a tragedy at the University of Wisconsin where a college co-ed was found dead -- apparently the unfortunate was playing a drinking game, had to take a shot every time the sports media mentioned FAVRE, and died of alcohol poisoning in half an hour. Speaking of drinking, Aaron Rodgers got drunk in euphoria. Aaron Rodgers got drunk in crushing depression. Aaron Rodgers got drunk in euphoria again and then he smoked a really good bowl and shaved his porno-stache to prepare himself for the rigors of being the Packers' starting quarterback and wondering if they'd name a street after him one day. Also, he got so fed up that he swore he'd send an Andrea Kramer/Suzy Kolber-fronted sideline bimbo assassination squad after the next lazy sportswriter who titled a piece "Now It's Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood." Bill Belichick, meanwhile, wondered where he could hire this squad to put Eric Mangini out of his misery, and made five thousand copies of the "Spygate" tapes before hijacking a B-52 to drop them all on Arlen Specter's rooftop at the dead of night while playing "Start the Machine" by Angels & Airwaves at 1,529 decibels.

David Tyree enjoyed a winter of never having to pay for his drinks anywhere in New York and the fact that people pretended they could tell him from Domenik Hixon before the Hail Manning in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Michael Strahan retired, but got arrested for assault when, reacting out of habit when the doorbell woke him from a nap, he violently sacked the teenage babysitter (this coming as the third strike after he had already leveled the mailman and used the tax collector to pick the gap between his teeth). Ben Roethlisberger spent his offseason building a better motorbike, which backfired when Terrell Owens helped himself to it. Maurice Jones-Drew spent his offseason overturning garbage trucks for fun. Brady Quinn spent his offseason matching curtain prints, drinking Mai Tais, and shouting homophobic slurs at anyone wearing better hot pants than him. Rex Grossman impregnated 1,000 women from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to the Philippines (where his successor as Florida Gators quarterback, too-good-to-live and desperately devoted Christian Tim Tebow, was doing his part to save the world by circumcising poverty-stricken children. And that is actually not a joke).

Tony Romo got a STD from Jessica Simpson, dumped her, and desperately tried to keep it a secret until he could ask his Cabbage Patch Kid for advice -- unfortunately the Kid advised him to take her back, which he did, which will end badly after the Cowboys' first preseason loss when Dallas riots en masse to burn pink-jerseyed effigies. Elsewhere in Tixas, Wade Phillips, driven to the brink by megalomaniac Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, expanded to the approximate size of Chad Johnson's sense of self-importance and Mario Williams jumped up and down in a corner, wanting to know if anyone was going to remember the Texans, which everyone took as some kind of Alamo reference.

Jon Kitna and Kurt Warner held a prayer session asking God to deliver them from Matts: Millen and Leinart, respectively. In Arizona, everyone cared much more about the Super Bowl than they ever gave a crap about the Cardinals. In California, the 49ers continued the process of total irrelevance to everyone outside the Bay Area, changed their names to the Fightin' 39ers to sound more plucky and gritty, resigned when it didn't work, and then got scared awake by their alarm clock and a stern phone call from Roger Goodell telling them that doing anything without his express authorization, including breathing, is a violation of NFL conduct policy. (BRETT FAVRE)

The San Diego Chargers had to put a limit on Philip Rivers' offseason activities when they discovered that his new favorite hobby was daring his antagonists (a list ranging from the guy at the grocery checkout to Kofi Annan) to eat his surgically reconstructed ACLs. Los Angeles -- oh wait, Los Angeles didn't do anything since they don't have a pro football team, but laughed in the face of every other college program since they still have the USC Trojans and you don't. (Although they share their name with a well-known brand of condom, they still couldn't get Matt Leinart to wear one, which is a bit of a problem when you consider that he probably slept with all of the approximately 8,364 female undergraduates during his tenure there). (BRETT FAVRE) The Oakland Raiders retained Al Davis for the 134th consecutive year, thereby ensuring another year of disastrous and well-earned fail, and showed their commitment to their policy of making losers the face of the franchise by selecting Darren McFadden (two children by two different women at the tender age of 20) with their first pick, fourth overall. In doing so, they also ensured that McFadden, a top-performing running back at the University of Arkansas, will be able to tear unencumbered by the Denver Broncos' mesmerized defense, who somewhere along the way got a key tenet of football backwards and think that you are supposed to step aside and let the little guy with the ball plow easily through your big guys, who look imposing in theory but in practice are worse than useless. (BRETT FAVRE)

Jay Cutler discovered that diabetes were the reason he was so sick and drained last year, losing 35 pounds, as he'd initially attributed it to the fact that he'd stopped eating after receiving mysterious, threatening notes from "Jack Eldham," who is certainly not a legendary quarterback for any Denver team and certainly not interested in ensuring that nobody likes Jay better than they liked him. If he ever played, that is. Brandon Marshall, meanwhile, had a fight with his brother, a McDonald's bag, Roger Goodell, and common sense, and lost all four by a resounding margin while getting slapped with a three-game suspension to open the season. Jason Elam took his game-saving leg and Christian thriller novels off to Atlanta, leaving the Broncos with Matt Prater in return, which initially looked like a livable trade-off until everyone discovered that Prater had been padding his resume to say that he went to football powerhouse Florida when in fact he actually went to Central Florida and almost got eaten by an alligator while drunk at a frat party. (BRETT FAVRE) Mike Shanahan was named Broncos King for Life by Broncos Emperor for Life Pat Bowlen in a secret underground ceremony, where he honed the psychic powers that allowed him to cut troublesome wide receiver Javon Walker two weeks or so before Walker, who should be commended for exemplifying the principles of his new employers, went out and got drunk and beaten up in Las Vegas to celebrate his signing with the Raiders. And in an explosive revelation sure to upset almost no one, the Carolina Panthers were actually discovered to be a long-running urban legend. (BRETT FAVRE)

In short, it was a very busy offseason. With one week of preseason games under the nation's collective belt, everyone has discovered (BRETT FAVRE) it's time for pigskin. Will I be back? Well, hopefully. As the long hiatus between posts attests, I get distracted. But I'm feeling in a football mood, may actually finish the Quarterback Quizzes, and will write some crap on Denver's new "look" and "acquisition" and try to determine if this is any different from last year's -- which was to say, losing. (BRETT FAVRE) That was annoying.

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