Some quick observations from the weekend:
-- Question one: Am I crazy or has Jerry Jones turned into Dan Snyder? The Cowboys appear to be a fantasy league football team: lots of names and apparent stars but a lousy team. They have a field goal kicker who has trouble, well, kicking field goals. They have a quarterback who puts up lovely stats and never seems to win a tough game. They have 43 running backs but no running game.
I’m not declaring them dead after two games. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they beat the Houston Texans next week because the Texans are coming off two emotional wins—the Colts and a come-from-behind overtime win in Washington—and have a pass defense that let Joey Galloway (who is 57-years-old) get behind it for a 62 yard catch on Sunday.
So here’s my question: Does Wade Phillips last the season? I mean seriously this guy has become Jerry Manuel: he’s just good enough to keep his job but is guaranteed to never win anything that matters—which used to what you were supposed to do in Dallas until Jones decided face-lifts, selling pizza and building a monument to his ego were the keys to success in life. How much do you think Jimmy Johnson has enjoyed these last 14 years?
-- Question two: Is anyone in the NFC East any good? The Colts made the Giants look like a UFL team Sunday night. That game needed The Little League mercy rule and should have been over at halftime. Not many people would have noticed since the first half took about nine hours to play. (What is it with NBC? Their Notre Dame games take forever and so do their Sunday night games. Maybe they need the extra time so Chris Collinsworth can tell us how great the fall lineup is).
The Giants beat a bad Carolina team last week at home, then got crushed by the Colts. I’m certainly not sold on them. The Eagles, even with Mike Vick’s gaudy numbers, were lucky to get out of Detroit alive even with Matthew Stafford injured. Shaun Hill-yes THE Shaun Hill—threw for 334 yards. Let’s be honest: with all the talk about the quarterback position, the Eagles defense has not been a shadow of its-former-self since Jim Johnson’s death.
And the Redskins? Well, they had the new Mayor planning a parade route at about 6:30 last night and then reverted to their old selves. The local apologists here today are going on about Donovan McNabb’s numbers and the 27-10 lead. Certainly, the team is better if only because it is COACHED and because for the moment Dan Snyder is entertaining all his various sycophants in the owners box and not trying to tell Mike Shanahan what to do. But the game was lost because a chip-shot field goal got blocked and because the defense couldn’t make a play late and because there was NO running game.
Can the Redskins make the playoffs? Sure. Because no one in the division is any good.
-- Question three: What is the over-under on Brett Favre’s next retirement? Favre looked bad, at home, on Sunday against the Dolphins. He and the Vikings may very well bounce back from 0-2 but I think they COULD lose to the Lions on Sunday. If that were to happen things will get chaotic in Minnesota if they aren’t already. The problem with being a great athlete is you never really know when it is time to go home. Favre had a wonderful year in 2009 and that’s why—along with the money—he’s back in 2010. But the margin for error is so small, especially in the violent world of the NFL, that you never know when you are going to step off the cliff. Favre may not be there yet but he can definitely see the posse coming up behind him. It may not matter if he can swim, the fall will kill him.
-- How sad is it that Mark Dantonio’s signature moment as a football coach came only a few hours before he landed in the hospital suffering from a heart attack.
First, thank goodness, he’s apparently okay and was smart enough not to mess around and got himself straight to the hospital. Again though, this makes you wonder about the pressures coaches put themselves under. Dantonio made one of the all-time gutsy calls when he called for a fake 46-yard field goal with his team down 31-28 to Notre Dame in overtime. It was what coaches refer to as a ‘hero-goat,’ call. You’re going to be one or the other, there is no in-between. Dantonio ended up a hero because his team executed the play perfectly and Notre Dame—not surprisingly—never saw the play coming.
The shame is that Dantonio can’t really glory in the moment right now. He’s got to worry about getting himself healthy again and his doctors have to make sure he doesn’t try to go back too soon. This is serious stuff—not Urban Meyer, I’ll resign for 15 minutes and then be back the next day stuff.
-- When will the national media stop moaning about how unlucky Notre Dame is? Someone actually wrote Sunday that Touchdown Jesus should be replaced with a statue of Job because Notre Dame has been so unlucky in recent seasons.
Are you kidding me? The Irish have EARNED their mediocrity with a series of bad coaching hires and some obvious recruiting mistakes. PLEASE do not buy the, ‘our academics are so tough,’ excuse. There may be a few kids Notre Dame can’t take but most of those kids probably don’t belong at Notre Dame anyway. Lou Holtz took some of them and look where that led.
Bob Davie couldn’t coach, Ty Willingham never really got a chance to coach, George O’Leary couldn’t tell the truth and Charlie Weis couldn’t get his ego out of the way for more than five minutes at a time. Brian Kelly may be the answer and he needs time before people judge him one way or the other. But this has nothing to do with bad luck. It has to do with running a bad football program at a place where it is almost impossible—given the money, the scheduling ‘flexibility,’ (as in a total of three road games this season) the tradition and the exposure—to be mediocre. Notre Dame has pulled that off for almost 20 years now. That’s not bad luck.
Finally: Am I the only person who noticed that Patrick McEnroe ended his run as Davis Cup captain with a win—a tough one at that. The U.S. had to go to Colombia this past weekend and play on slow red clay in order to retain its spot for 2011 in The World Group—the 16 teams that play to win the Davis Cup. A loss would have meant playing their way back through the relegation group in 2011 to have a chance to compete for the Cup again in 2012.
Without Andy Roddick, the U.S. won 3-1, Mardy Fish winning two singles matches (8-6 in the fifth to wrap it up Sunday) and the doubles with John Isner. Good for Patrick and the U.S. It’s a shame no one pays attention anymore.
By the way, Serbia plays France for the Cup the first weekend in December. A ratings bonanza no doubt for Tennis Channel.