Collier: Too many NFL issues growing tedious
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As the start of the NFL season lurches to within hours, you pretty much can't butter your toast without banging into still another football forecast, usually in stark terms, and most always with some dubious degree of credibility.
I haven't seen Lindsay Lohan's picks, for example, but I'm sure that's only because I'm looking in the wrong places. They were probably all over the California Penal Gazette this summer.
But someone named Bill Barnwell, an ESPN Pigskin Panelist (a position not in any way related to the Iowa Hog Advisory Board), predicts that the Atlanta Falcons will beat the Steelers.
Not this Sunday, in the Super Bowl.
I've really gotta find those Lohan picks.
Why is it, do you think, that right before the first football game of the season, everyone wants to predict who will win the last football game of the season?
Probably the result of a contagion directly related to Mel Kiper's draft board, now listing the top 10 picks for the year 2026, all subject to change, obviously, once Mel gets a better look at the initial September video of kindergarten recess.
I couldn't pretend to know which teams are going to the Super Bowl, but I'm pretty certain the Falcons and the Steelers aren't two of them. The Falcons will arrive this weekend riding two consecutive winning seasons for the only time in their 45-year history. With a history like that, you'd have to have doubts about a third, no? Steelers analysis is even easier. They won nine of the 15 games Ben Roethlisberger started a year ago, and they're looking at an autumn when he'll start no more than 12. Don't do the math unless you want to see a resulting number that precludes a postseason.
The larger questions in Roger Goodell's $8.5 billion kingdom remain a trifle tedious, to put it bluntly. When the location of the umpire is worth 700 words in your good morning Post-Gazette, you know some other issues are starting to wear on the football consumer.
Most would agree, I would venture, that Brett Favre should have to play in the Superdome tonight dressed exactly as he is in the Wrangler jeans commercials. The New Orleans Saints should let him drive his pickup into an informal circle of modest vehicles, select a smattering of 30-something Mississippians to play catch with, and then blitz him with the full package of evident malice.
Real ... uncomfortable ... screams.
Favre has every right to play until he's 50 if he can get somebody to pay him for it, but does he have to enter so willingly into this annual TV drama that makes him the most talked about person on the planet? This year's edition included aerial photography of his SUV arriving in Minnesota. You half expected Al Cowlings to step out of the backseat followed by 30 black & whites from the LAPD.
The other omnipresent personnel issue as a new season dawns is the squishy status of Albert Haynesworth, who pocked $21 million from the ATM known as the Washington Redskins in April and has done nothing since except to indicate in every conceivable manner that he has no desire to play football. The only thing dumber than signing Haynesworth to a contract that could be worth $100 million emerged this week, with the news that Haynesworth's former team, the Tennessee Titans, was trying to reacquire the oversized, out of shape defensive tackle in a trade.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan appeared to quell those reports Wednesday by announcing that Haynesworth will be wearing burgundy and gold for Sunday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys. He didn't say necessarily that there would be any padding involved, much less a helmet.
I guess the Titans were hoping to put the stomp back in their defense with the trade initiative, unless they'd forgotten that it was Haynesworth who stomped on the helmetless head of Dallas center Andre Gurode that day in '06, leaving Gurode with a face and forehead that required 30 stitches to hold together.
The good news for the consumer, such as it is, is that Goodell and the players union are considering adding two games to the schedule as some still-to-be-determined part of a collective bargaining fulcrum that could avert a labor war.
On its face, however, an 18-game schedule as opposed to a 16-game schedule raises an uncomfortable question: Why? Are not enough people being concussed as it is, or is it just to shorten the season for late night violence in and outside the strip clubs?
All such questions, however, are now effectively tabled. By varying degrees, sometimes wildly varying degrees, I guess we're ready for some football.
First Published September 9, 2010 12:00 am