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Friday Out-Takes: Car-flags and the King of Pop

Every Friday, John Cockrell will offer up his perspective on the latest NFL developments that catch his eye. His views are his own, not those of the Patriots.

Flag-Waving in L.A.

Anyone who spends football season in the greater Los Angeles area will tell you that the Hall of Fame status of ERIC DICKERSON doesn't extend to his work off the field. On KBCS TV in L.A., where he provides hilariously awkward pre- and post-game commentary for, mostly, Raider

games, Dickerson is not quite what we'd call "Emmitt bad," but he's not far off. On the Excruciating Scale, we'd put him closer to a Tween whose parents harmonize in carpool than, say, the abject humiliation of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's "tan lines" e-mail. That said...

Earlier this week, the six-time Pro Bowler, drafted by the then-Los Angeles Rams, managed to articulate a pretty salient point about football and its future in Tinseltown. Caught on tape by one of the guttersnipe "journalists" from (Joe Buck's other bookmarked "Favorites" say hi, by the way, as does Artie Lange and a website we won't mention), the ex-Ram-Colt-Raider-Falcon offered this on-target, if grammatically off the mark, perspective:

"L.A. don't deserve a team. They ain't gonna support it."

Out-Takes spends a lot of time around Los Angeles and its legion of, ahem, "fans," and we can't echo this statement with enough gusto. Shout it from the mountaintops, run it up the flagpole and let choirs of angels sing it to the heavens: Los Angeles would support an NFL franchise with less fervor than a featured-extra in a Kevin Smith flick. And not just because there's so much more to do here – surfing, the mountains, sitcom focus-groups... Seriously – THEY DON'T CARE.

Now, before any fair-weather, banner-waving, laptop-in-a-Starbucks poseur hits us with anecdotal evidence to the contrary, let's be clear: We're not saying there are no sports fans in Hollywood. There are. It's just that they're mainly displaced Bostonians, New Yorkers and Austin, Texans; the Hoosier fan with a gleam in his eye and an "in" at CAA; the fresh-faced girl just off the bus from Kansas, with a suitcase of dreams, two sides of moxie, and a red-hot date with Destiny. (Destiny being, of course, the name of the wizened old-timer at SPEARMINT RHINO, who she'll "trail" for the week leading up to her *next *date, which involves a sparkly mirrored-floor, a pole of some kind and a frat boy's fistful of singles.) These folks go to L.A. for one reason: to seek fame, fortune and a bar with DirecTV where they can watch their hometown heroes – be they Patriots, Dolphins, Giants or, in the case of the corn-fed Kansan, college hoops. Speaking of hoops...

The goggle-wearing Hall of Fame RB went on to explode the myth that folks supporting Kobe and his 'mates (aka, the ones that remain welcome in Denver) makes L.A. a good sports town: "When the Lakers are winning, it's crowded. When the Lakers are losing, you could roll a stick of dynamite in there and blow up nothing but the floor."

God Bless Eric Dickerson for saying it out loud. We'd add a caveat here, so as not to offend any stray Laker fan readers we may have generated, but we figure they're too busy frantically digging out their stupid freakin' car-flags from the 2008 trash-heap, so we'll let it slide.

Three Questions Regarding #4

1) Is it too early to begin enjoying BRETT FAVRE's immutable trajectory toward a late-career rep as a coach-killer (in addition to the rep he's already earned as a promise-breaking legacy-ruiner)? First came Coach "Mangenius" and the green-tinted hype of a potentially deep, Brady-free, post-season run. (How'd that go?) Now, another off-season, another un-retirement and another HC desperate for a marquee QB whose rep, even in days of glory, enjoyed a throw or two off a back foot and into the gut of opposing DBs. As Pro Football Talk noted earlier this week, Favre to Minny represents a pushing of chips into one big, stinking pile in the middle of the table. If it doesn't work, guess who goes down with Brett and his once noble narrative?

2) Is it too early to begin enjoying the fact that, short of a long playoff run, which Favre is not all that likely to deliver, the coach theoretically "killed" in the above scenario will be Captain Dress-Up himself, BRAD CHILDRESS? (FAKE QUOTE: "I put on sunglasses and a wig, and my friends didn't recognize me at the Senior Bowl! Not that I had anything better to do, like, ya know, scout prospects. Oh – have you seen my brown spiked up-do?!") Moving on...

3) Does any serious-minded person honestly believe the scenarios laid out in the first two questions are at all farfetched?

Out-Takes Answer Key

#1...Of course not! It's never too early for that! If Favre insists on embracing his spiteful side by signing with Green Bay's arch-rival, Karma insists on us enjoying his comeuppance, which will hopefully come in the form of the Packers knocking Brett and his new team out of the playoffs. (Out-Takes calls this "Pennington's Law.")

#2...Of course not! It's never too early for that! Childress has been embracing his inner Bozo for a while now. It's just that this off-season it's crystallized. When not playing coy with the Favre-starved press, he's playing dress-up at college all-star games and trying to show up coaches who've actually won something. (Bonus answer: No, Brad, we haven't seen your brown spiked up-do, but the COREYS FELDMAN and HAIM have. They'd like their sense of "style" back.)

#3...Of course not! Both scenarios laid out in the first two questions seem like PRECISELY what will happen. So...feet up, folks. Kick back. Relax. And when you think of the pending, inevitable marriage between Brett & Brad, bear in mind the following mathematical shorthand: Two birds. One stone. No shot.

Gonna be fun.

Blooper Reel

~ JULIUS PEPPERS finally signed his tender, guaranteeing him 16 million dollars this year if he can just find a way to live with getting paid to play a game while calling one of the country's most beautiful spots home and staring down the barrel of an uncapped 2010. Meanwhile, New England message board posters...start your engines. (Then, kindly, cut them. He ain't comin'.)

~ Say what you will about MICHAEL JACKSON – and clearly there's lots to say – but the troubled King of Pop was an immense talent whose Super Bowl XXVII (that Cowboys 52, Bills 17 yawner) halftime show ranks among the most memorable ever. Also memorable, at least in the eerie air of retrospection...the coin-toss that day, which came courtesy of another would-be controversial and iconic Los Angeleno. His name? Orenthal Something. (We'll get to him in a bit.)

~ A quick nod to FARRAH FAWCETT, too. Before Generation Google, before message boards and "threads," Out-Takes and, we bet, a number of our 30/40-something readers, couldn't help but have the ex-Charlie's Angel pop into our head every time we heard the word "poster." RIP, former Mrs. Six-Million Dollar Man.

~ Answering the question, "At what point did you become WILONA, the wise-cracking upstairs neighbor on Good Times," OCHOCINCO recently weighed in with a resounding "Last Friday!" That's when, in his latest media grab, the artist formerly known as "Chad" announced that he's "going to Bristol after mini-camp" because "[Mike Golic and other, presumably svelter folks at ESPN] are "getting out of hand with the disrespect!!!! Child Please."

It's this last part that set off the "Wilona" alarm. I mean, "Child Please?" Seriously? Is it possible Ochocinco is farming out his Tweets to ex-227 writers? (For those too young to get the 227 reference, we suppose we could've clarified it with a "Jackee" reference but, honestly, would that have made much difference?)

Señor Cinco then set his sights on a guy who, any minute now, will pass JERRY JONES on the "I have a lady-face" spectrum – ESPN 2's snarkier-than-thou morning-talk presence, known as Cold Pizza's SKIP BAYLESS or, if you're going by Ochocinco's Twitter account, "a dried up raisin with no sports background!!!!" (Is it just Out-Takes or is the "four exclamation points" thing fast becoming an informal signature for the Bengal wideout? You know, like Clark Kent's glasses or A-Roid's clutch pop-ups.)

CJ finished off his Bayless rant with this beaut: "He gets a check for saying the dumbest [um...stuff]!" While we don't disagree with Johnson's point – Bayless is the sports equivalent of all that's wrong with 24-hour cable news – it's worth noting that Ochocinco also recently said, "It's going to be a great year; we're going to the playoffs!" (Those in glass houses, and all that.)

And finally, bringing us full circle...

~ Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, recently announced that the memorabilia OJ SIMPSON claimed as his – and as the motive behind a Vegas-themed foray into armed robbery and kidnapping – will remain in department custody for the time being.

Officials are said to be awaiting word from old-school mustache-model FRED GOLDMAN, whose son OJ "didn't" murder despite all the evidence that shows he most definitely did. Due to a wrongful death judgment in civil court, the poster-child for "You got away with it, why the Hell didn't you just play golf?!" owes millions to Mr. Goldman and his family. The jerseys, snapshots and footballs are expected to be auctioned off once the Goldman's grant permission.

OJ, meanwhile, continues to look forward to the day when USC will despicably welcome him back to practice, just as soon as he serves out his sentence and returns to a life of freedom and, one hopes, continued scorn and derision to go along with two massive helpings of Karma.

Not exactly a happy ending this week, but then, when it comes to endings and OJ, happy usually doesn't enter into it.

John Cockrell is a screenwriter, whose other work has run the gamut from "Sesame Street Parents Magazine" to Playboy TV's "The Weekend Flash." (He figures everything else is pretty much in-between.)"

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