Monday, January 03, 2005

Week 17: I Reminisce (I Reminisce)

Happy New Year! In light of the closing of one year, the ending of one regular NFL season, and the beginning of the annual Redskins-win-it-all offseason discussions, I thought it best to reflect on 2004. Surely we all learned something in the last 12 months. For example, The Source magazine should have learned that they should never, ever, have another awards show. Without free kevlar armor. Thus, today I present to you now, gentle readers, the...


1. Manning = Real Deal. Some heads are talking that Peyton Manning's touchdown record is a result of the enforcement of the five-yard contact rules. To that I say balderdash! Manning deserves full credit for breaking this seemingly untouchable record because he is a ridiculously accurate, superiorly intelligent quarterback. It's true. Nobody can read and react to a defensive set better than Peyton, and the Ravens and Chargers can personally attest to that. For accuracy, dig how he set the new record on his pass to Brandon Stokely: the receiver made a quick out cut from the left hash mark, and Manning began his throwing motion. The safety saw this and moved toward Stokely, just as the receiver cut back inside. Manning's pass was in the air before the cut and hit Stokely perfectly in the hands, in the end zone, as soon as he turned his body back for the pass. The safety had no chance on the play. None. If I were stuck on an island and forced to watch but one quarterback's career highlights, it'd be Manning.
2. The reason I like Starbucks' caramel macchiato is because, in the end, it tastes like a liquified bowl of Super Golden Crisp.

3. Chris Cooley has proven to be the best H-back/tight end Washington's had in a long time; he could be the next Donny Warren if his play continues. He blocks reasonably well and is a legitimate short-yardage threat. He's no Todd Heap, of course, but defenses better cover him on 3rd and goal. Great pickup in your 2005 fantasy draft.

4. While no one's completely sure whether the Broncos or Redskins won in the offseason Bailey/Portis trade, I am absolutely certain that D.C. is better off without the presence of Trung Canidate.

5. If someone told me, back in 1993, that Flavor Flav would one day star in a reality series on a music video channel whose spinoff show would feature his love affair with Bridgette Nielsen...well, I would have bet my children's college fund you were wrong. After I punched you in the mouth for your blasphemy.

6. The Redskins are undefeated in 2005. Oh yeah. Wait, that didn't happen in 2004. In that case, I learned that the Digital Video Recorder is the greatest invention since, um, the Internet. Whether through TiVO, Cox, or Comcast, it will change everything you know about watching television.

7. Somewhere during 2004 The Boondocks suddenly became not funny. I can't say when, I can't say why, but this once potent comic went thud. Maybe it was the New Yorker article from April, where Aaron McGruder admitted that he doesn't even draw the strip anymore. He just sends ideas to some lady in Boston, who does the inking and sketching. We should all be so lucky.

8. My brother Roy managed to pull off the near-impossible task of starting a fantasy football season 2-6, then winning nine straight--including beating the best teams--en route to winning the Festivus Maximus Championship. The lesson here? Free Agents = Gold. Now I know who the $#$%!@ Lee Evans is. Congratulations and well played. How 'bout them Jones boys?

9. Thanks to the Pacers/Pistons melee, I now care about the fan-fightin' NBA just a shade more than the NHL. Speaking of which, what happened to the National Hockey League? Nobody's playing, or they dismantled the Western Conference or something. I'd look into this, but I don't care.

10. Vinny "AARP" Testaverde's poised play in the final two games was the worst thing that could happen to Dallas fans. Cowchip fans don't want him, but Coach Bill Parcells now will sit backup Bo Buckner, or Jim Henson, or whatever his name is, and stick with Vinny to start next year...a choice already vying for Worst Decision of 2005.

11. Sean Taylor is a future Ronnie Lott. As Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen said on their post-game wrap-up show, Old Men Radio, Taylor hits like a linebacker but possesses the speed of a wide receiver. Sure he makes mistakes, as he did Sunday when beat by Randy Moss for a touchdown. But his nose for the football gets him in on nearly every play, like Ray Lewis in his prime. Taylor could become one of the Faces of the Redskins (along with Arrington and the soon-to-depart Smoot) if only he'd lose the prima donna media silence. Mr. Taylor, nobody in the media told you to go drinking and driving. Admit the mistake and let's get on with life.

12. Nas' latest album, Street's Disciple, saved me from completely dismissing 21st century hip hop/rap music. It's got the rare blend of lyrics, delivery, and production that synthesizes into a forceful, yet introspective musical journey. And no, I didn't copy that from Throw in some James Brown samples and belittling Cuba Gooding, Jr. and the icing's on the cake. Take note, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and The Roots.

13. Speaking of music, congratulations to Snoop Dogg for putting out the worst, lackluster, simplistic excuse for a song THAT I CANNOT GET OUT OF MY HEAD. He has managed to easily surprass the Black Eyed Peas' Let's Get It Started on the Annoying Music Meter. Even the video makes no sense. Drop it like it's hawwwt, drop it like it's hawwwt...

14. The Maryland State Board of Law Examiners = Cloven-footed minions of Mephistopheles. But otherwise nice people.

15. ABC's Lost is the best television I've seen since the premiere of FOX's 24. I can only hope that in their second season the survivors don't start making coconut telephones and bamboo skirts.

16. This season's Hang Your Head award winner goes to a Redskin who single-handedly capsized a potentially successful season. By his hand the Skins lost games they should have won, and kept us from the postseason through poor decisions and suspect execution. He is, ironically, going to lead this team to the playoffs next year now that he's learned from these mistakes. The winner of the autographed 12" single Straight To My Feet by MC Hammer/Deion Sanders is none other than Coach Joe Gibbs. Nothing personal, sir, but if you so much as breathe the name Mark Brunell again, I will affix a Gore-Lieberman 2000 bumper sticker to your car.

17. The NFC should be ashamed of this season's wild-card playoff games: St. Louis at Seattle, Minnesota at Green Bay. For the first time in memory these games are, on paper, doo-doo matchups. None of these teams played well enough to earn their positions. I don't want any of these teams to win. I don't like any of these teams. How dare they proceed while gutsy squads like Carolina sit at home. Burns me up. Of course I'll be watching these games. Curse you, NFL.

18. This seasons' Man Among Men (aka, the "Riggo Award") is defensive coach Gregg Williams. He deserves a burgundy and gold Rolex from Daniel Snyder for organizing, maintaining and leading the best defense Washington has seen in my lifetime. Filled with who-dats and stand-ins, the Redskins managed to keep this season from falling into complete disaster. Nobody did more with less in Washington.

19. There will never be another Ray Charles, Barry White, or Luther Vandross. I don't care how record companies dress the Ruben Studdards of the world. You can't fake greatness. I doubt we'll see another Reggie White, either.

20. If the earthquake and tsunamis can teach us anything, it's that unpredictable biblical-level calamities can still happen. Many people are shocked, depressed, and in despair. Some folks still haven't recovered from seeing the horror of the Russian schoolchildren massacre. May I suggest what I believe is the truth?

And one bonus learning...

21. Writing a sports blog is more rewarding that I imagined, even if it sometimes feels like the equivalent of having a monologue in a bathroom stall. But just when you think that nobody hears your words, you open the door and realize a man from Switzerland was listening the whole time.

Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as I review NFL Playoff action, no doubt lampooning the NFC playoff contenders. Here's to a great '05...

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