Friday, December 22, 2006

Forgiveness and Week 16 Picks

They say the holiday season is a time for forgiveness. Most of the year, we crush our fellow man with guilt, retribution, and revenge. But for this one week every December, we set aside our pride and open our hearts and arms to those people who we really want to stab with a spork.

There was no more touching example of this than D’Angelo Hall’s forgiveness of Terrell Owens. As everyone from CNN to Al Jazzera reported last week, Owens spit in the face of Hall, admitted to it, retracted the admission, and ultimately got hit with a $35,000 fine. The Prince of Peace himself, Deion Sanders, brought the two together but incessantly calling them until they agreed to talk to each other. The two finally succumbed to Deion’s demands and, after talking, agreed to put the incident behind them. They also immediately changed their cell phone numbers so Deion can never call them again.
“Damn, Deion use to be all cool and stuff, now he’s as annoying as my step-brother hitting me up to borrow my Hummer.”

Also this week, the Chicago Bears showed they have the heart of a bear when they agreed not to release defensive end Tank Johnson after his 3rd arrest in 18 months. They decided to teach Tank a lesson by suspending him for their game against the Canadian Football League’s Detroit Lions. Now, the cynic might say Chicago was not as compassionate as they were scared to death of losing their best pass rusher for the playoffs. I say “bah- humbug.” It’s not like Tank’s actions got anybody killed or anything.
What’s that? Someone did? Really?
Oh, but a Super Bowl ring would totally compensate for someone’s death.
(see Ravens, Baltimore and Lewis, Ray)

Another example of the season’s compassion hits a little closer to home for me. As you can tell from my picks, I haven’t had “the best” year in my prognosticating. This has caused me to build up quite a tab with my bookie. Any other time of the year, my bookie would break both my legs and my arms for being in such deep arrears. But, after watching “Miracle on 34th Street” (the Natalie Wood version not that crappy Mara Wilson one), he can’t stay angry. He gets moved to tears when all those letters show up at the end to save Santa Clause from prison. So, because little Natalie would want it this way, he decided to only break my nose, dislocate one shoulder, and crack only three left ribs. He is such a softly because he knows I sleep on my right side. So, thanks Frankie the Finger, I owe. Seriously, I know I owe you and I’ll get you that cash as soon as the Giants cover this weekend.

So, my loyal readers, remember to take the time this week to reach out to at least one person you have held in contempt all year. Walk up to that person, stick out your hand, and say, “Let’s forget the past and build a bright future together.”

I guarantee you will make that person feel better. And just think of the joy you will experience when, the following week, you push them face first into a puddle of mud. They will never see that coming. “Hey, buddy, Christmas was last week. It’s back on, mo-fo!”

Now, here are my latest picks. Last week, I was average as average can be at 8-8, but I was a stellar 4-1 on my star picks. For the season I am 106-103-6 and 31-31-1 on my star picks.

And just to show you I am one who practices what he preaches, I will tell you who I forgive for each game.

*Kansas City –6.5 at Oakland- I forgive Arizona and Pittsburgh for being the only two teams to lose to the Raiders. If it wasn’t for them, we could be talking about one of the greatest feats of incompetence in sports history. This is a hard one to forgive because there is a beauty in perfect ineptitude and these two teams stole that from us.

Tennessee +4.5 at Buffalo- I forgive Wonderlic, Inc. for making me think passing their test has anything to do with being a good quarterback. I took the test, got a high score, went out and played QB in a flag football game, and threw 4 Ints and fumbled 3 times (without getting hit). On the plus side, I did correct the referee’s grammar.

New Orleans at NY Giants –3: I forgive Drew Brees for going to the Saints instead of the Dolphins. Yes, I know Miami rejected you, but that should never have stopped you. You have to force yourself, ignore their rejections and “restraining orders”, and made them fall in love with you. All this advice can be found in “The Stalker’s Guide to Love”

*Carolina at Atlanta –6: I forgive Jim Mora for his comments about wanting to coach at University of Washington. I knew it was a joke because Ty Willingham is already coach there and no sane program would fire him without giving him a chance to prove himself.

Washington at St. Louis –2: I forgive Daniel Snyder for making George Steinbrenner look like a fiscally sane individual.

Indianapolis -9 at Houston: I forgive Charlie Casserly for passing on Reggie Bush, Vince Young, and Matt Leinart. Clearly, I didn’t see the genius of the move at the time. Committing the single greatest bone-headed move in sports history will keep any team from offering him another GM job, thus there is no way he can be tempted away from that cushy CBS guest analyst job. Bill Parcels could learn a lot from you.

*Baltimore at Pittsburgh –3: I forgive Todd Heap for permanently being listed as “questionable”, causing me to freak out over whether I should pull him from my fantasy roster. The crazy thing is that it’s always for a different injury. I swear he is trying to make sure every muscle on his body suffers a deep tissue bruise.

*Tampa Bay at Cleveland –3: I forgive the odds makers for even posting a line on this game and making me give it even a second of thought. 3-11 vs. 4-10. How is this not on Monday Night?

*Chicago –4.5 at Detroit: I forgive all those fans that participate in the “walk out” during the 2nd quarter of this game to protest the sorry state of the Detroit Lions. I do not, however, forgive the Lions who “walked out” since week one.

New England +3 at Jacksonville: I forgive Bridgett Moynahan for ending her relationship with Tom Brady. This break-up has clearly distracted him since he has only thrown for over 3000 yards and 22 TDs with the worse receiving corps in football. Now, if Bridge can catch a 15-yard out, their love could be rekindled.

Arizona at San Francisco –4: I forgive the entire Arizona Cardinals organization for making me believe for the 7th consecutive year that they will be surprisingly good, only to end up predictably bad. Fool me 7 times shame on you, fool my 8 times…oh hell, I’m picking them to win the NFC next year.

Cincinnati +3 at Denver: I forgive the 45 players on the Bengals who did not get arrested this year for making the 8 players who did get arrested feel like outsiders by not joining in their criminal escapades. I hope you learn the meaning of teammate in 2007.

San Diego at Seattle +5: I forgive Shawne Merriman for taking steroids and for making me question if every tackle and sack he ever made was as “clean” as every other player in football.

Philadelphia +7 at Dallas: I forgive Drew Bledsoe for making me think all he needed was good receivers and a quality running game to be great again.

NY Jets at Miami –2: I forgive Miami ahead of time for making me regurgitate my Christmas dinner when they blow a 10 point fourth quarter lead.

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