Thursday, December 20, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Weeks 16 and 17 (Game 15 and 16)


The Patriots play their fifteenth regular season game at EverBank Field against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, December 23rd at 1:00 PM.

The Patriots play their sixteenth regular season game at Gillette Stadium against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 30th at 1:00 PM.


Hoomanawanui!

I don't feel good about the way my team played last week.  Plus we lost our best chance for a playoff bye.  But... I know Bills fans who would stab somebody for a chance at the playoffs (honestly, most Bills fans I know would be happy to stab somebody for you anyway...).

So instead of moping...  Let's make fun of the Jets!

Epic Buttfumble vs. Season Ending Botched Snap.  Discuss.

Obviously, Epic Buttfumble will never be topped.  But Season Ending Botched Snap has its merits, too (especially if it ends up resulting in mass firings).  The Jets have a way of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

I'm worried that things with the Jets are SO BAD now they'll be forced to clean house.  This makes me sad.  I like having Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez to kick around.  It's fun!

/cries into goddammned snack


"A Christmas Story" Power Rankings:

1) The Dad (Darren McGavin is so good in this movie it hurts)

2) Ralphie

3) Christmas Tree Guy (a surprising big mover this week)

4) The Mom

5) The Narrator


We're almost done with another glorious year of football.  Here's five guys that mattered this season:

1) Tom Brady - One of these years he's going to start slowing down and losing a little off the fastball.  This was not that year.

2) Wes Welker - Why the hell didn't we get a long term deal done with him last year?  Wes deserves to get paid.  This is why we can't have nice things.

3) Rob Gronkowski - GRONK SORRY GRONK HURT ARM.  GRONK PLAY GOOD IN PLAYOFFS.

4) Vince Wilfork - Vince had a monster year.  I can't say enough good things about him.  He's a beast.

5) Stevan Ridley - Even with his recent putting the ball on the ground problems, he's had a pretty darn good year.  (Just don't fumble in the playoffs.)

(Honorable mentions for Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo.)


Did Michael Hoomanawanui have a catch this week?

YES!


My prediction (Game 15): Pats 35, Jaguars 17

My prediction (Game 16): Pats 28, Dolphins 24

My prediction (Season): 12 - 4 (Up from last week.)

Nut up or move on.

*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's second book "My Patriot Years":

December 24th, 1999.  Late, late at night. I'm at the Jets training facility watching some extra film on the Dolphins.  I probably hadn't slept in two days.

I'm starting to doze off a little bit.  I hear my Casio watch beep off the hour and sit upright.

I look over to my right and my old pal Art Modell, owner of the Cleveland Browns and my former boss, had wandered into the film room.

"I am the NFL Owner of Christmas Past!" he tells me, spilling a drink as he talked.

"Get the hell out of here," I calmly told him.  "You completely ruined my reputation when you announced you were moving the team to Baltimore.  They burned an effigy of me in the parking lot.  Now I'm stuck working under Parcells again, dammit."

He scurried off.  I went back to my film.

A few minutes later, another guy in a suit shows up.

"Hi!  I'm Woody Johnson.  I'm about to be the new own of the Jets.  We should be buddies!"

"Sir, no disrespect, but it's late and I've got a lot of work to do."

"Sure thing, Brian!"

Huh.  Turns out the dude didn't even know my name.  Never a good sign.

I buried myself in Dolphins footage again.  Was Marino long past his prime at that point?  Yeah.  But he still scared me.  And besides... Anything was better than talking to liquored up owners.  They're the worst.

My watch beeped again.  A third guy in a suit showed up.  This guy had a blue shirt with a white collar.

"Hey!  How's it going?  I'm Bob.  You used to work for me, remember?"

"Yes, I do."

"How you like things here?"

"They're fine, I guess.  Do you mind?  I'm trying to get a little more work done tonight."

"Work, huh?  OK."  He started to walk away, then came back into the room.  "You want to come work for me?"

"Sure.  If you just leave me alone right now, I'll come coach the Patriots."

"OK then.  That works."

He seemed pleasant enough.

At first I thought I must have been hallucinating all these Old Money guys coming into the film room with me.  The next day I found out there were all in town for an owners' meeting.

A few weeks after that night, I quit as HC of the NYJ.  And that's how I became the coach of the New England Patriots.

True story.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 14 (Game 13)


The Patriots play their thirteenth regular season game at Gillette Stadium against the Houston Texans on Monday, December 10th at 8:30 PM.

Woo Hoo!  AFC East Champs!

Not the most complete game they've played all season, but I'll take it.  The best thing about the Dolphins game was the 7 minute drive to close out the game.  We haven't had one of those in a while.


So close!

Christmas Special Power Rankings:

1) A Charlie Brown Christmas

2) The Spirit of Christmas

3) Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas

4) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

5) Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special


Here's five guys coming back this week that I'll be keeping an eye on:

1) Chandler Jones - Ankle injuries have to be rough when you're 260 pounds.  'Cause every time you take a step...  You know...  That's 260 pounds landing on your bad ankle.  Ouch.

2) Logan Mankins - The offensive line has been pretty good this year, even the weeks he's been out.  But I'd still rather have him in there (unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and all).

3) Donte' Stallworth - Back with the team.  Honestly, I thought he looked great in training camp.  I was surprised they cut him.

4) Brandon Bolden - Back from a four game suspension.  He was playing well before that, but he's probably behind  Stevan Ridley on the depth chart now.

5) Brandon Lloyd - It'll be nice to see him get back into the action this week... Wait, what?  He played last week?  OK... Nevermind then.


Did Brandon Lloyd have a catch last week?

Yes.

(But just one.)

Did Donte' Stallworth kill a guy this week?

No.

(Not that we know of...)


I hate to do it... But I'm going to pick against the Pats this week.  It pains me.

My prediction (Game 13): Pats 27, Texans 31

My prediction (Season): 11 - 5 (Steady from last week.)

Nut up or move on.

*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's second book "My Patriot Years":

It was just last week.  I was finally starting to feel pretty good about this season.  We had won a few big games.  We had just clinched the AFC East. The rest of our schedule was tough but manageable.  And then this bomb gets dropped on my desk Friday morning.

Josh McDaniels runs into my office to tell me.

     BB: What? No coffee?

     JM: Did you hear?

     BB: Hear what?

     JM: Brady's wife gave birth last night.

     BB: What?  Brady had another kid?

     JM: (nods)

     BB: During the SEASON?!  You've got to be kidding me.

     JM: Yeah.  It was all over the papers.

     BB: You know I don't read the papers... except for "Garfield".  I didn't even know she was pregnant.  Nobody told me.

     JM: Sorry, sir.

     BB: Awww c'mon... We talked about this.  Big game this week, and he's not going to get ANY sleep at home with a new baby.  Dammit!  Can we get him out of the house for few days?  Maybe here could stay here.

     JM: He says he wants to be home with his family.

     BB: What if we hid his keys?

     JM: He keeps an extra set hidden somewhere here in the building ever since Matt Light stole his car that time.

     BB: Heh heh... That was good.  Can we convince him he needs to stay all night and watch extra tape?

     JM: Maybe... But he'd wonder why he couldn't just take it home on his laptop.

     BB: Maybe we could lock him up in the nap room?

     JM: There's no lock on that door

     BB: Wait... I've got it!

     JM: What?

     BB: Tell him a representative from Uggs is coming to see him here with samples from the new product line.  It's important they see him in person.

     JM: That's great.  He's stay at his locker for days.

     BB: And schedule a vasectomy for Brady, too.


Boom.  Problem solved.

True story.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 13 (Game 12)


The Patriots play their twelfth regular season game at at Joe Robbie Stadium Pro Player Park Pro Player Stadium  Dolphins Stadium Land Shark Stadium Sun Life Stadium against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 2nd at 1:00 PM.

Holy crap... It's already December.  The season is 75% over.  Noooooo!

Savor every last bite.


Was there any way I wasn't going to go with this image?  No.

Before we start with the Dolphins, let's take a moment to look back and reflect on the Thanksgiving Massacre in North Jersey.  So much Jets schadenfreude!  (Rex-enfreude?)

Remember - That game was 0 - 0 at the end of the first quarter.  Then 7 minutes of game time later and it was 35 - 0 and pretty much over.  Whoa.

That game had everything you could want.

Passing touchdowns?  Check

Rushing touchdowns?  Check

Defensive touchdowns?  Check.

Special teams touchdowns?  Check.

LOL-Sanchez moments?  Check.

I've been spending about 20 minutes a day every day since then watching this.  It just makes me happy.  That play will be on Jets "highlight" reels for years.

Go...  Go ahead... spend 20 minutes watching it right now... I'll wait for you.  You deserve a little happiness.

/waits 20 minutes

OK... You back?  Good.


Sebastian Power Rankings:

1) Bach

2) Vollmer

3) Belle and

4) that crab from "The Little Mermaid"

5) Janikowski


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Julian Edelman - Edelman gets ANOTHER game ball for his performance last week.  Two weeks in a row.

2) Shane Vereen - Excellent run after the catch last week.

3) Dont’a Hightower - Watch to see if they send him after to the Quarterback a bit more this week with Cunnigham and Jones out.

4) Brandon Spikes - Putting together a career year.  Leads team in penalties.  Has a sex tape.

5) Vince Wilfork - Big Man picked up a guy and backed him into Mark Sanchez last week.  Enough said.


Did Michael Hoomanawanui have a catch last week?

No.

/sad trombone


My prediction (Game 12): Pats 35, Dolphins 21

My prediction (Season): 11 - 5 (Steady from last week.)

Nut up or move on.


*****


This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's second book "My Patriot Years":

Scott Pioli and his team had the draft board out.  One year, just for fun, before we went to work on the actual NFL draft, we decide to do a fake draft with movie bad guys.  (The scouting guys are always a little too tightly wound.  They spend all their time either watching tape or on the road.  You've got to let them blow off a little steam once in a while.)

Pioli, being a huge Star Wars nerd, takes Darth Vader with the first pick.  By the time his turn came around again, he was forced to take Grand Moff Tarkin.

Brady was wandering in and out of the room.  He kept asking if he could take Lord Voldemort.   If he wasn't there, we'd skip his turn.  Sit down and pay attention if you want to be part of the game!  You'd think he went to Hogwarts or something.  Stop acting like such a Hufflepuff!

I trade out of the first round for more picks.  I end up with The Joker, Agent Smith, Hans Gruber and John Kreese (the Cobra Kai Sensei guy).  That's a good, deep roster right there.  Needless to say, I think I won that little game.

One of the younger scouts drafted Eric Mangini as a joke.  We all had a good laugh at that.  (But seriously... Eff that guy...)

True story.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 12 (Game 11)


The Patriots play their eleventh regular season game at MetLife Stadium against the New York Jets on Thursday, November 22nd at 8:20 PM.

Is anything better than Thanksgiving?  (Answer: no).

Excellent win last week.  Fifty nine points on the board.  Solid all around.

Good times, right?  Unfortunately, the biggest story coming out of that game was Rob Gronkowski's injury.  He'll be out 4 to 6 weeks after surgery to repair a broken arm (I wonder if he can appear to Goodell and get it reduced to 2?).

This also means it'll be a while longer until we finally see the Five Tight End Voltron Offense on the field.  Boo.



It'll be a while before we see this again.


Ryan Power Rankings:

1) Nolan

2) Gosling

3) Jack

4) Private

5) Rob

6) Jeri

7) Bob

8) Matt

9) Fitzpatrick

10) Rex


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Julian Edelman - Edelman gets a game ball for his performance last week.  VERY GOOD, JULIAN.  NICE JOB.

2) Visanthe Shiancoe - With Gronk out, maybe we can finally unleash the Shiancoe monster this week.

3) Aaron Hernandez - A Hernandez sighting this week would also be nice.  Rumor has it he's going to play.

4) Stevan Ridley - Stevan had his worst game yet last week.  Hopefully he gets it going again this week.

5) Alfonzo Dennard - This dude was a 7th round pick and he's probably our 2nd best corner at this point.  Ooof.


Did Michael Hoomanawanui have a catch last week?

No.

/sad trombone


My prediction (Game 11): Pats 38, Jets 24

My prediction (Season): 11 - 5 (Steady from last week.)

Nut up or move on.


*****


This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's second book "My Patriot Years":


Is it Thanksgiving again already?  Wow... The time just flies.

A lot of people ask... What am I thankful for?

Friends?  Family?  A good team owner?  A hall of fame quartback?  Being in first place?  Playing the Bills twice a year?  Facing Mark Sanchez this week?

Well, sure.  All those things.  But right now, I'm mostly thankful for Rush's "Chronicles".

"Really, Bill?  A greatest hits album?"  Yup.  Even though I've got all their early Rush albums (my 8-track player still works...), it's just great to have all those songs right in one spot.

"But they're not even from Jersey.  They're from Canada!"  Don't hold that against them.  They do some excellent work.

I'll be listening to "Chronicles" the whole way down to the Jets game on Thursday.  And the whole way back.

I got no time for livin'.  Yes, I'm workin' all the time.

They call me the working man.  I guess that's what I am.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 11 (Game 10)


The Patriots play their tenth regular season game at Gillette against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday November 18th at 4:25 PM.

Apparently the Colts have... a new quarterback?... or something?  I don't know... I wasn't able to find anything out about him for you guys.  Sorry.

The 4:25 PM games are not good for me personally.  The five year-old has a very limited attention span.  A three hour football game doesn't offer him too much.

"Is football over yet?"

"I want to watch a mooooovieeeee!"

"Why does Dad get to watch TV during dinner?"

In between downs I have to play ball and wrestle and do general parenting activites.  It makes watching the games rather hectic.

I'm contemplating Tivo'ing the game and watching it after the Small People have gone to bed.  Not good times.

...or it might be time to get the kid hooked on gambling.  Either one.


Belichick showing a better arm than either Sanchez or Tebow.


Branch Power Rankings:

1) Executive

2) Deion

3) Legislative

4) Judicial

5) Michelle


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Aqib Talib - Oooh!  New toys!  The nice thing is he only has to come in and be "average" and he'll automatically be the best corner on the team.

2) Chandler Jones - Is he hitting the Rookie Wall and slowing down a little bit for the second half of the season?  I don't know.  I'm asking you.  I thought maybe you'd like to add something to the conversation.  Jeez, don't get all defensive or nothin'.

3) Brandon Spikes - Apparently he's a "punk" according to some of the Buffalo Bills.  I'm just glad someone on defense is playing well enough to get noticed.  Do you realize how many years it's been since someone on the Patriots defense actually made contact with another person?

4) Devin McCourty - The  McCourty rollercoaster ride continues with a game winning pick last week.  I honestly can't remember a player with higher highs and lower lows.

5) Vince Wilfork - Just his usually, solid, spectactular self this year.  No big deal.


Did Michael Hoomanawanui have a catch last week?

No.

/sad trombone


My prediction (Game 10): Pats 35, Colts 34

My prediction (Season): 11 - 5 (Steady from last week.)

Nut up or move on.


*****


This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's second book "My Patriot Years":



Everybody seemed to like my Randy Moss story from earlier this year, so here's another quick one.

Randy's first season with us was in 2007.  Our first home game of the year was week 2 against the Chargers (side note - I don't usually like to badmouth other coaches... But how the hell does Norv Turner still have a job?  Seriously.).

Randy scores late in the first quarter then comes over to me with a panicked look on his face.

Randy Moss: COACH!  SOMEONE IS SHOOTING AT ME!

Me: What?

Randy Moss: There's a bunch of guys dressed up like Pilgrims or something and they're shooting at me every time I score a touch down.

Me: That's just part of the touch down celebration here in New England.  Nothing to worry about.  Technically, they're supposed to be minuteman.  And they're firing blanks.

Randy Moss: You sure?

Me: Absolutely.

Randy Moss:  OK.  In Oakland, people shot live rounds.


Right.  I probably should have warned him about that before the season started.  That one was on me.

Randy was a little skittish during home games for a while, but eventually things worked out OK.  And I still say his 2007 season is the best season ever by a wide reciver.

True story.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 10 (Game 9)


The Patriots play their ninth regular season game at Gillette against the Buffalo Bills of Western New York and the Greater Toronto Area on Sunday November 11th at 1:00 PM.

OK...  Enough bye-week crap.  Let's get right back to it.



When in England, Ridley runs on the left side of the field.


White Power Rankings (wait a minute... that doesn't sound right...):

1) Walter

2) Gandalf

3) Stripes

4) Walkers

5) Tracy


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Stevan Ridley - Ridley had 106 yards and 2 TDs against Buffalo last time out.  I like it!

2) Aaron Hernandez - I'd like to see Hernandez get it going again this week.  He's been off since returning from his injury.

3) Wes Welker - Don't look now, but Julian Edelman's backup is having a killer season.

4) and 5) Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder - The offensive line was a major question mark at the beginning of the season.  The fact that we're not talking about them more is significant.


Did Michael Hoomanawanui have a catch last week?

Yes!


My prediction (Game 9): Pats 35, Bills 21 (I know I said I was done predicting blowouts... But c'mon... IT'S THE BILLS!)

My prediction (Season): 11 - 5 (Steady from last week.)

Nut up or move on.


*****


This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's second book "My Patriot Years":

A lot of people were freaking out about Rob Gronkowski's off the field antics this off season.

Magazine covers.  Parties.  Shirtless pics with porn stars.  TV dating shows.  It was the Summer of Gronk everywhere you looked.

How is it going to affect him on the field?  

Is football still important to him?

Bah!  Way overblown if you ask me.

You want to know a secret?  I've partied with him.  And he's a blast to be around.  As long as he keeps showing up on Sundays ready to play, I'm fine with it.

Plus he hooked me up a couple pairs on Zubaz.  Have you guys worn these?  They're GREAT.  I haven't worn them to a game yet, but I'm thinking about it.

Besides... Have you seen the way Brady dresses?  I'm not going to that guy for fashion tips.  Sorry.

True story.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 8


The Patriots play their eighth regular season game at Wembley Stadium in London against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday October 28st at 1:00 PM.

Let's see... How'd we do last week?

Late turnovers?  Check.

Sloppy defense?  Check.

Secondary giving up huge plays?  BIG CHECK.

Letting an inferior opponent hang around?  Check.

Inability to sustain a long drive in the 4th quarter to finish out the game?  Check?

/checks final score

Wait... We WON that game?  Whoa.

I'm tired of waiting for this defense to come around.  I thought this was going to be the year.  It's not.

Other than this hilarious safety, there wasn't much to feel good about.  (I've watched that on a loop for hours...  That will never, never get old.)



Ninkovich brings the pain.


Devin Power Rankings:

1) Hester

2) Banks

3) Cars

4) Castle

5) Hester (again)

...

11,9970) McCourty


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Rob Ninkovich - Somebody on the defense finally made a game changing play in a big spot.  Yay!  I had forgotten what that was like to watch.

2) Stephen Gostkowski - Had two big late FGs last week.  Seems to have settled down from his early season yips.

3) Devin McCourty - Even with the return TD... still on my s-list.

4) Ras-I Dowling - Which would be more useful in coverage?   Ras-I Dowling or a misplaced shoe that somebody dropped on the field?  I say the shoe.  The shoe has a better chance of making a tackle once in a while.  Somebody might trip over it.  (UPDATE: Ras-I placed on season-ending IR late Friday (Ras-IR?).  Quick... Sign that shoe to the open roster spot!!!)

5) Rob Gronkowski - GRONK MAKE ENDZONE TWO TIMES.  GOOD GRONK.


My prediction (Game 8): Pats 28, Rams 27 (I'm done predicting blowouts for a while...)

My prediction (Season): 11 - 5 (Steady from last week.)

Nut up or move on.


*****


This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's second book "My Patriot Years":

You know who the most underrated guy on my coaching staff is?  Dante Scarnecchia.

He's been with the team since 1982.  I'm sure he's seen everything.

He was also a sergeant in the Marines.  Pretty badass.

He has a great history of getting offensive lines to play above their talent level.

How does he do it?  Special blocking schemes?  Conditioning drills?  Gap assignments?  Motivational speaking?  Nope... Alligator urine mixed with Gold Bold Medicated Powder.  He has one of the equipment guys apply it liberally to the players' cups right before the game.

Technically, it's legal.  But I wouldn't exactly go bragging about it to the guys at the league offices or anything like that.  Dungy would love to tattletale to Goodell if he knew about it.

True story.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 7


The Patriots play their seventh regular season game at Gillette against the New York Jets on Sunday October 21st at 4:25 PM.



Welcome Back, Aaron Hernandez.

Bros and Lady Bros,

Not good times in Patriots Nation.  With that loss last week, we've already lost as many games as we did all of last year.

So is this a BAD TEAM?

Or is this a GOOD TEAM that's just not playing well?

We've lost 3 games by a total of 4 points.  There's no such thing as a good loss.  But it's also not like we're getting killed.

My first reaction after last week's game was to crap all over the secondary.  But I think the blame really lies with Brady on that loss.  Not too many plays from that game will be featured on the "TOM BRADY'S 100 GREATEST NFL MOMENTS" DVD I'll be buying 5 or 6 years from now.


Danny Power Rankings:

1) DeVito
2) Trejo
3) Torrance
4) Woodhead
5) Boy



Here's five guys I'll be expecting to play better this week:

1) Wes Welker - Welker showed up last week.  Everyone else on this list kinda sucked.

2) Tom Brady - TWO (!) intentional groundings AND 2 INTs in the same game?  That loss is on him.

3) Patrick Chung - You're killing me, Patrick Chung!  What happened to you?  I expected more this season.

4) Rob Gronkowski - Also not playing up to the level we've come to expect.  He's been a step slower all year.  Then he took a brutal shot to the back on Sunday.

5) Stevan Ridley - Bolden is hurt this week.  The Jets aren't great against the run.  Ridley should have a huge week.


My prediction (Game 7): Pats 35, Jets 17

My prediction (Season): 11 - 5 (Revised downward.  Sad face.)

Nut up or move on.


*****


This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's second book "My Patriot Years":

We're on the road in 2000.  At Indianapolis.  They were still in our division back then.

The Kraft's were going full blast on the construction of what would eventually become Gillette Stadium, so money was a little tighter than usual.  They asked us to double up on hotel rooms on the road.

I had to room with Mangini.  Nobody else wanted to him to stay with him.  They thought of him as the Cousin Oliver of the coaching group.  No big deal, I thought.  We had worked with each other with both the Browns and the Jets, so we were pretty comfortable with each other.

He gets up to the room first and unpacks all his stuff.  I get up a little bit later after my meetings are done.  I go to put the rest of my Diet Coke in the mini-fridge... And he's got it filled with carrot juice.

"What the hell is all this?" I asked him.

"Carrot juice!  It's my new diet.  Nothing but carrot juice for two weeks.  I've already lost 6 pounds!" he said proudly.

Later that night, I'm having one last look over my notes.  Eric is sitting on the bed with another bottle of carrot juice.

I ask him to come take a look at the blitz package I was trying to diagram.  He comes over to take a look, trips over his shoes, and spills his carrot juice all over the table.

"MANGINI!"

Carrot juice... everywhere.  All over my notes.  All over my good gameday sweatshirt (with the sleeves ripped just right).  And it was too late to do any laundry.  I was super pissed.  That stuff smelled horrible the next day.

I made sure I always got my own room after that.  Even if I had to pay for it myself.

Never again.

True story.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 6


The Patriots play their sixth regular season game at CenturyLink Field against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday October 14th at 4:05 PM.



Woop woop woop.

I re-watched most of the Pats - Broncos on the NFL Network Replay this week.  And let me tell you, it was definitely a butt kickin'.  It wasn't even as close as the final score would indicate.  The Patriots RAN ALL OVER the Broncos.  Whenever they wanted it, it was there for them.  Somebody on Twitter referred to the current Patriot's offense as "speed crushing" their opponents.  That's a pretty accurate description of what's been going on lately.  I can't ever remember seeing anything like this combination of speed and power.  Hopefully, it'll work on the road.

Newton Power Rankings

1) Isaac  
2) Cam
3) Raspberry
4) Huey
5) Fig

...

87) Apple


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Stevan Ridley - Another solid week.  151 yards and a touchdown.  Was the late fumble was worrisome?  A little bit, yeah.

2) Brandon Bolden - As long as we're running for 250 yards a week, I'm just going to keep putting both of these guys in the top 5 each week.

3) Alfonzo Dennard - Somebody stepped up at corner and made a few plays last week!  Nice.

4) Wes Welker - Don't look now, but Welker has been heating up.

5) Aaron Hernandez - Rumor is he'll be back this week.  I can't wait.


Did Michael Hoomanawanui have a catch last week?

No.

(In his defense, he was injured.)


My prediction (Game 4): Pats 27, Seahawks 13

My prediction (Season): 12 - 4 (Yes, really...)

Nut up or move on.


*****

Not many people remember this, but most people would have said Willie McGinest was a little bit of disappointment before my staff got a hold of him.  He definitely underachieved under the previous regime (ed. note Pete Carroll).

Parcells drafted him fourth overall.  Obviously, he liked him.  But I wasn't so sure.  Something just never sat right with me.  I felt like he wasn't really living up to his potential.

We sat down and had a heart to heart one day after practice.

"Look Willie... We need you to focus on football.  I want people on my team who I know care about football.  I know you've got some outside interests.  I know you and Snoop Dogg are tight.  But trust me... You want to focus on football now.  Save that stuff for after your career is over."

"This city is afraid of me... I've seen its true face."

"I don't know what to do with you... But Coaches Ryan and Mangini really seem to like you.  So we're going to keep you around for a bit longer.  But... I want to see a little more dedication."

"Soon there will be war.  Millions will burn.  Millions will perish in sickness and misery.  Why does one death matter against so many?"

"I'm thinking of having you play more of a defensive end roll rather than outside linebacker this season."

"None of you seem to understand.  I'm not locked in here with you.  You're locked in here with ME!"

"And another thing - no more appearances on 'Arliss'.  That Robert Wuhl is a real prick."

"THE END IS NIGH."

Anyway... I think I got through to him.  We ending up winning a whole bunch of games with Willie after we had that talk.

In '06, he went to Cleveland with Romeo.  We let him go without too much of a fight.  The last thing we needed on this team was a vigilante.

Besides... Brady already thinks he's Ozymandias.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 5


The Patriots play their fifth regular season game at Gillette against the Denver Broncos on Sunday October 7th at 4:25 PM.



He's gonna get his name in the paper.


Oh you know... Just two of the five best QBs of all time playing this weekend.  NBD.

I'm no scout... but Peyton has no arm strength left.  Watch how many times he throws the ball more than 15 yards.  I think he's done.

I'm huge on the Patriots this week.  Especially if we can keep running the ball like we have been.


Sterling Power Rankings:

1) Archer
2) Roger
3) Hayden
4) Moore
5) Ice Cream Bar

...

11,957) John


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Stevan Ridley - 106 yards and two touch downs last week.  I enjoyed the BenJarvus Green-Ellis era in New England, but I can't remember too many runs he ever had of more than five yards.  Ridley is a little more explosive.

2) Brandon Bolden - 137 yards and a touch down last week.  Welcome to the party, Brandon Bolden!  Some kind of crazy... awesome... two running backs party!

3) Brandon Spikes - That forced fumble at the end of the first half last week was huge.  Huge!  Also... he's kinda nuts.

4) Devin McCourty - He looks horrible in weeks 2 and 3, then he grabs 2 INTs against the Bills.  I don't know what to think.  Can we just play the Bills every week for the rest of the season?

5) Patrick Chung - Something doesn't look right here.  He's been late and out of position a lot lately.  Is he making mistakes?  Or covering for other people's mistakes?  Either way, the secondary is about a C plus right now.


Did Michael Hoomanawanui have a catch last week?

No.

/sad trombone


My prediction (Game 4): Pats 35, Broncos 20

My prediction (Season): 12 - 4 (Yes, really...)

Nut up or move on.


*****


This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's second book "My Patriot Years":

It's 2007.  We're coming off a loss to the Colts in the AFC Championship game.  Our leading receiver the previous year was Reche Caldwell.  Enough said.

Randy Moss was 30 at the time.  He'd had a couple of rough seasons in Oakland.  Everyone thought he was done.

That's when I picked up the phone.


     Me: You want to come play for the Patriots?

     Randy Moss: Sure.

     Me: We'll have to redo your number.  You know, for cap purposes.

     Randy Moss: That's OK.

     Me: Any other questions?

     Randy Moss: You guys have Wendy's in New England, right?

     Me: You mean the hamburgers?  Dave Thomas and all that?

     Randy Moss: Yeah.  I *love* those guys.  You could pay me  Frosties and Classic Singles and I'd be the happiest guy on the team.

     Me:  You like Frosties, huh?

     Randy Moss: Coach... you KNOW I do.

     Me: I'll tell you what.  I'll buy you a Frosty for every touchdown you catch this year.


How'd he do that year?  Well... I ended up taking him out for 23 Frosties.

Can you believe we got this guy for a 4th round pick?  That's good value.  Just like Wendy's.

True story.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 4


The Patriots play their fourth regular season game at The Ralph against the Buffalo Bills of Western New York and the Greater Toronto Area on Sunday September 30th at 1:00 PM.

The Patriots are 1 - 2 (don't look now, but I think Devin McCourty just gave up another 30 yard reception) ... And yet I'm not panicking.  They lost two games by a total of 3 points, with each game coming down the last play.  There's still a lot of football left.


"Hey... You guys wanna grab a beer later?"

With the regular refs coming back this week, the NBA reclaims its rightful place as the worst officiated league in all of sports.

Reportedly, when the end of the lockout was announced, Ed Hochuli threw his work shirts in the dryer for 4 hours and banged out 5 more sets of curls.


Jackson Power Rankings:

1) Samuel L.
2) Ms.
3) Andrew
4) 5
5) Cannery
...

11,957) Victoria
11,958) Tom
11,959) -ville
11,960) Chad

Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Tom Brady - He looks skittish back there.  You can tell he doesn't trust the offensive line yet.  Should we feel good that the offense put up 30 on the road at Baltimore?  Or should we be upset that they couldn't close the game out with a lead in the fourth quarter?  I don't know.  Check back with me this time next week.

2) Wes Welker - Welker vs Julian Edelman has become our own regional version of Jennifer Anniston vs. Angelina Jolie (with... Brady as Brad Pitt?) the last few weeks.  It looks like Edelman will be out this week, so maybe Welker will get the love he deserves.

     My four year-old and me on Sunday:

     "WES Welker."

     "WEST Welker?"

     "No... WES Welker.  No 'T'."

     (pause) 

     "WEST Welker?"


3) Deion Branch  - Welcome back, Mr. Branch.  (I think we all saw this one coming...)

4) Rob Gronkowski - Why do we keep calling so many plays for Woodhead?  Maybe mix in a little more Gronk?  You know... The guy who just had the best season ever by a tight end?

5) Kellen Winslow - Woo hoo!  More Tight Ends!  Is Winslow done?  Probably.  But maybe we'll throw him out there and defenses will forget to cover him.  Update: Released!




This is from an "opposites" kids book about the NFL.  The "sad" picture is of a Bills fan.  That kills me.

"Why so sad, Sad Bills Fan?  Maybe you wouldn't be so sad Sad Bills Fan if you didn't just spend the last two hours putting on all that face paint."


Did Michael Hoomanawanui have a catch last week?

Yes!


My prediction (Game 4): Pats 31, Bills 17

My prediction (Season): 12 - 4

Nut up or move on.


*****


This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's second book "My Patriot Years":

Drew Bledsoe was nominated for the Hall of Fame this week.  He's not a Hall of Famer.  But he could have been.

I sat him down in my office at the end of the 2000 season.

He had thrown 17 TDs against 13 INTs for 3,300 yards.  Not terrible numbers.  But certainly not great.  He was definitely on the decline at that point in his career.

"Drew... How are you feeling about the offense?  Everything OK?  I think we've got a really good mix at receiver going forward."

"Yeah, I guess."

"What's wrong?"

"Well..."

"Go ahead."

"I... I miss Ben Coates."

"Understandable.  He was a fantastic tight end and really made the offense go.  We're probably going to draft a tight end or two this year.  That should make things easier for you on third down."

"Well, it's not just that.  We had something really special together, you know?"

"What?  You mean your chemistry with him?"

"No... We had this great... secret handshake.  I miss that.  I don't know if I'll ever have that with another player."

Right then I knew... This wasn't my guy.  We traded him a year later.

True story.

Also... Some of you have asked about last week's game where I made contact with an official at the end of regulation.  I was just trying to get his attention and see if he wanted to chip in toward the gift card we were getting Brady for his baby shower (his wife is pregnant again... But I'm not sure if I'm supposed to mention that).  Honest.  That's all it was.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 2 (Game 2)


The Patriots play their second regular season game at Gillette Stadium against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday September 16th at 1:00 PM.

(It's just one game... It's just one game... It's just one game...)

Holy crap, we have a defense again!

(It's just one game... It's just one game... It's just one game...)

And a running game!  Hot damn!

(It's just one game... It's just one game... It's just one game...)

OK... Deep breaths... Calming back down.  It may just be one game, but it's definitely a good sign of things to come.

The offensive line was better than advertised (minus Nate Solder).  Gronk and Hernandez are cementing their status as the best 1-2 TE combo ever.

Also... Ridley!

Brady can be a "B" level quarterback and we still win games.

Negatives - It was against Jake Locker and the Tennessee Titans.  Also, if I'm being honest, the secondary looked a little lost at times.

But guess what?  We've got the Mighty Arizona Cardinals coming in the week!  Boosh.



"Rule number 1: no touching of the hair or face!"



“He’s such a good-looking guy.  Obviously, he gets banged up, and he’s probably the toughest metrosexual I’ve ever come across.”  -- Wes Welker

Lloyd Power Rankings:

     1) Bridges
     2) Christopher
     3) Brandon
     4) Dobler
     5) Christmas


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:


1) Chandler Jones - Wait wait wait... We traded UP to take someone in the first round in last years's draft?  Whoa.  Early returns look good.  He was all over the place in Week 1.

2) Dont'a Hightower - What?  We traded up TWICE?  No way.  What has gotten into The Hoodie?

3) Vince Wilfork - Wilfork is now the oldest member of the New England defense (Is that right?  Holy crap...)  Just in case you forgot, he's still awesome.

4) Nate Ebner - Projects to be mostly a special teams player.  But his college highlight reel is sploosh-tastic.  Go watch this.  Oh... Did I mention he played rugby in college?

5) Devin McCourty - Ummm... He seems like a good guy.  That's the nicest thing I can say about him right now.

My prediction (Game 2): Pats 31, Cardinals 10

My prediction (Season): 12 - 4

Nut up or move on.


*****


This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's second book "My Patriot Years":


Training Camp

It's my first day of training camp as head coach of the Patriots in 2000.  Some of guys knew me from previous stint as the DC with team under Parcells.  But's my first day as THE GUY... and I knew we were going to have to set the tone.

Apparently nobody told this team they should SHOW UP already in shape.  Most of them were just a mess.  I inherited a team that was both physically and mentally soft.

I turn to Ernie Adams and say "We're going to have to tear it down and build it back up.  It's time to get to work"

Even worse - Pete (ed. note - Pete Carroll, Patriots head coach from 1997 - 1999) let the players pick the practice music.  Unbelievable.  And everyone thought their song should be played first.  Damien Woody wanted Ricky Martin.  Tebucky Jones wanted to listen to goddamned Cher. (At least Max Lane had some semi-respectable Foo Fighters and Everclear going on his playlist.)

So I give Ernie the nod.  He always knows what we need just when we need it.

He goes over to the PA system puts on track 3 of Bon Jovi's 1986 masterpiece Slippery When Wet: "Livin' on a Prayer."  That's good getting down to business music.  When you hear about Tommy working down on the dock, you feel better about yourself... AND you can't help but try a little harder.

Did we make the playoffs that first year?  No.  But we set the tone for what was to come next.  And we haven't had a losing season since then.

True story.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 1 (Game 1)


The Patriots play their first regular season game at LP Field against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday September 9th at 1:00 PM.

So... Um... Yeah.  Let's not get too hung up on how last season ended... It's a new year.  Like Coach Belichick says... We're focusing on next week.  We're moving on.

It's also an election year.  Republican or Democrat...  Liberal or Conservative...  Let's not lose sight of the one thing that unites us all...  That the Jets are horrible.



Gronk seems to be enjoying the benefits of being famous.

Let's dive right in!

The Patriots signed both Gronkowski AND Hernandez to long term deals (ed. note - phew) in the off-season.   They also added extra Tight Ends Jake Ballard, Daniel Fells, Michael Hoomanawanui and Visanthe Shiancoe. At this rate, we'll soon be fielding the NFL's first ALL TIGHT END OFFENSE!  (It's the logical next step in the evolution of the game...)

Josh McDaniels - Welcome back!  You'll get another shot at being the head coach someday... Probably!

I was lucky enough to spend a day watching training camp at Gillette Stadium this summer.  Here's a few quick thoughts:

  - Gronk jerseys.  Gronk jerseys everywhere in the stands.  Patriot Nation loves them some Gronk.

  - They're going to throw the ball.  A lot.

  - When they do run, it looks like Stevan Ridley is THE GUY.

  - Brady still loves throwing to Welker.  And I'm pretty sure I heard him call Welker "Big Guy".

  - I thought Stallworth looked really good, but apparently not good enough to make the team.  (Me = not a professional scout.)

  - On defense, Chandler Jones is going to be a MONSTER.


Hey Big Guy!

Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Brandon Lloyd - I'm honestly not sure what to expect here, but I'm intrigued.  At the very least, he should be an upgrade over Chad Ochocinco (and unless Chad catches on with another time, we'll have to retire "Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?"  That breaks my heart.)

2) Rob Gronkowski - Gronk should see a lot more double coverage this year.  I can't see any way he comes close to putting up numbers like last year.  But it should free up everybody else at the very least.

3) Wes Welker - No long term deal for Welkah this off-season.  So sad.  I get it...  He's 31.  But it still kinda sucks.

4) The revamped Offensive Line - It looked... ah... pretty rough in the pre-season.  Yikes.  I'm not feeling real good about this group.

5) Michael Hoomanawanui - Probably the 3rd or 4th TE on the depth chart.  I doubt he'll make it onto the field...  I just like saying "Hoomanawanui" (huh-oh-muh-NOW-uh-noo-ee).  Plus, Viking Dave made me promise to buy his jersey if he sticks with the team.


My prediction (Game 1): Pats 27, Titans 16

My prediction (Season): 12 - 4

Nut up or move on.


*****


This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's second book "My Patriot Years":

By now, you've probably seen the video of Mr. Kraft and his new lady friend Ricki Noel Lander working on her audition reel.

What you probably don't realize is that I was this close to getting into the movie business after I got fired in Cleveland.  I was an uncredited script consultant on JERRY MAGUIRE.  It was my idea to make the main character a wide receiver.  Wide receivers are always the nuttiest players on the team. That was an easy one, really.

I'm sure I could get Ricki on the picture with a phone call, but it's more fun to watch Mr. Kraft run around the office acting like a love-struck teenager.  It's much better than when he was all mopey after Myra died.  Apparently, some people get attached... to their spouses... I guess?  I dunno.  Seems like a waste of time to me.

Anyway... It'll all be in my screenplay COACH.

Someday.

(I've been working on it in the off-seasons for years.  It's been taking a lot longer than I thought it would.)

I've also dabbled in the direct to video market, but that didn't go as well.

True story.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

C'mon... Really?



At the NY State Fair last week, I saw 2 different people in "Cowboys Stadium" t-shirts.

Not COWBOYS t-shirts.

Cowboys Stadium.

Why do they inspire this bizarre loyalty from idiots all across the country?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Not Again...

"So Tom... We need to ask if you're OK with something a little unusual for this photo shoot.."

"I'll do it!"

"Don't you want to wait to hear what it is?"

"Whatever it is, I'll do it!"


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday Morning Third Down Back Presents: Special 2012 NFL Draft Edition Fake Bill Belichick

Draft Day - 2005.  I'm rocking out to a pre-release copy of the new White Stripes album (ed. note - "Get Behind Me Satan").  It's no Bon Jovi... but it's still pretty good, I guess.

Theo Epstein from the Red Sox is sitting in with us in our Draft Room. 

We've got the 32nd pick in the first round (again), so there's a lot of sitting around waiting for the Buffaloes and Jacksonvilles and Minnesotas of the world to get their heads out of their asses.

I mention to Theo that I'm thinking tight end with the first pick.

Anyway, the Steelers take Heath Miller off the board at #30 and Theo starts chirping.

"Wait... I thought Heath Miller was your guy."

"Yeah.  He's going to be good.  And I love drafting tight ends."

"And the Steelers just took him."

"Yeah.  So?"

"They're your rivals!  Your mortal enemies!"

"Pretty much."

"Why aren't you flipping out over this?  Why aren't you throwing chairs?"

"Relax, kid.  There's still plenty of other good players to take."

"And you're not going to have your owner hold a press conference declaring the game to be rigged and unfair?"

"What would the point of that be?  That just makes us look bad."

He then stands up and tries to flip the table over.  Puh-lease.  I had them bolt all the tables down.  I'd seen Parcells pull that trick one too many times.

Theo's a good kid, but a bit of a hot head.  Eventually he calmed down.  He was way more upset than I was.

Anyway... My philosophy is you're never just one guy away.  You're better off spreading your bets around.  I think he saw the point I was trying to make, but I'm not really sure.  You've got to let them figure these things out on their own sometimes.

Oh... And that was the year I had to draft Matt Cassel because I lost a bet with Pete Carroll...  But that's a different story.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!

The Patriots play their second playoff game of the season at Gillette against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday January 22nd at 3:00 PM.

So much for not having won a playoff game in 4 years.

If I may be allowed to turn into Tawmmy from Quinzee for a moment...

    HOLY CRAP BRADY IS FACKIN' AWESOME.

Are the Patriots really as good as they looked last week?  Or was Denver just that bad?



 
Gronk is ripped! 

I'm a little worried about Baltimore.  Joe Flacco is not so good.  Ray Rice still scares the crap out of me.  But I'm mostly concerned about how well our offensive line holds up against their defense.

Here's five guys I'll be counting on to keep Brady upright this week:


1 - 5) Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Brian Waters, Nate Solder - Brady will only be as good as these guys play upfront.  When they can give him time, he's deadly.  That's pretty much it.


Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

NO. 

My prediction: Pats 34, Ravens 24

Stay hydrated, my friends.


*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

January 1987.  It's the morning of the NFC Championship game.  I'm the defensive coordinator for the Giants.  We're about to face the Redskins.  Easily the biggest game I've coached in up to this point in my career -- only one game away from the Super Bowl.

I'm going over my notes one more time after the breakfast meeting.  I barely slept.  I'm chugging coffee and listening to Rush's "Subdivisions" on my Walkmen ("Signals" is an underrated album).  I must have been visibly nervous, because Parcells came over and sat down next to me.  For some reason, the pressure never seemed to get to him

I pull my headphones off.

"Hey... What are you worried about?  You're going to do great.  Our defense is the best we've ever had."

"Thanks."

"You know why I'm so relaxed?"

"No, Coach."

"Women's underwear.  I'm wearing a pair of silky pink panties right now.  Feels great.  Mark Bavaro turned me on to them!"

I didn't even know what to say.  But it did get me to stop worrying about the game for 5 minutes while I tried get that image out of my head.

I have no idea where he found women's underwear in his size.  And we ended up shutting out the Redskins in that game.

True story.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - PLAYOFFS!

The Patriots play their first playoff game of the season at Gillette against Denver Broncos on Saturday January 14th and 8:00 PM.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to track down any information about who's playing quarterback for the Broncos on Saturday.  If anyone can find this information somewhere, please let me know and I'll send it along.

Somehow Belichick whipped this team into shape and went 13 - 3.  13 -3 with a horrible, horrible defense.  But the NFL has changed.  It's not even the same league it was 10 years ago.   Does defense even matter anymore?

I'd really like to see a deep playoff run this year.  But with the recent history of this team in the playoffs, I'm keeping my expectations low. 



 
 Sterling Moore, winner of Week 17's "Wait, Who's That Guy?" award. 

Here's five guys on offense I'm hoping can carry the team this week:

1) Tom Brady - I can finally bring myself to admit that Brady had a bad game against the Jets in the playoffs last year [dodges lightning bolt].  Let's move on and start writing the next chapter(s) in the glorious "History of Great Brady Playoff Wins", shall we?

2) Wes Welker - If you're not following Welker on Twitter, you're missing some great mustache talk. 

3) Rob Gronkowski - He was so good this year that I'm already worried about losing him two years from now when his rookie contract is up.

4) Aaron Hernandez - Hell of year by Hernandez.  He didn't get nearly the credit he deserved.  He made Ocho completely unnecessary.

5) Julian Edelman - 2011 job description: PR / KR / WR / CB.  He definitely earned his paycheck this year.




Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

NO.

That gives us a grand total of...

(wait for it)

...15 catches on the year for The Och.  Less than one catch per week.  Not great.


My prediction: Pats 45, Broncos 24

Stay hydrated, my friends.


*****


This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":


February '96.  I'd just been canned in Cleveland.  My last season there was so bad, the team picked up and moved to Baltimore.

I was lost.  I didn't know what I wanted to do next.  I wasn't even sure if I wanted to keep coaching.

That's when I spent a month as a commercial fisherman.  I had to get away from football for a while.  I caught on with a cod fishing outfit in New Bedford.  I grew a mustache and gave them "Giuseppe Verdi" as a name.

Nobody bothered me.  Nobody expected too much from me.  It was a chance to get my head together.

First they had me on nets.  Then they moved me to the count once they saw I could keep track of all that stuff in my head.

Do you know what the mortality rate of a commercial fisherman is?  It's awful.  But you know what's worse than that?  The smell.  A group of guys out on the ocean in closed quarters for days on end surrounded by decaying fish parts is brutal.  The only thing that comes close on land is the mens' room after Ninkovich takes a dump (you would think Wilfork's dumps would be the worst, but you'd be wrong.  Ninkovich eats all that weird ethnic stuff his mom cooks for him).  And even that's not as bad as bad as the boat.  The fish smell just lingers.

I couldn't handle it anymore.  I cut my fishing career short after just four weeks.  It was all the confirmation I needed that I should get back into football.

I made it back to dry land and called up Parcells to ask for my old job back.  Making that phone call sucked.  But the team went to the Super Bowl the next year.  And at least I was off that goddamn boat.

Even to this day, if I'm out at a restaurant and somebody at the next table orders cod, I have to get up and leave.

True story.

...and THAT was the story I told Josh McDaniels when I called him last week to see if he wanted his old job back.

Sure, your pride took a beating, Kid.  But that's temporary.  Get back on board this ship.  And you won't have to smell like a fisherman.