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Friday Out-Takes: Curbed Enthusiasm

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.

Curbed Enthusiasm

In the season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm, LARRY DAVID and an old pal - Jerry Something - discussed the minutiae of every day life. (Weird, right?) Among their subjects was the cavalier overuse of the phrase "Having said that..." as a conversational get-out-of-jail-free card. David put it succinctly: "You say what you really want to say...and then you negate it." For example...Out-Takes considers KEANU REEVES' performance in Much Ado About Nothing to be the nexus of hilarious and appalling. HAVING SAID THAT...Keanu, we'd love to book you as our inaugural Celebrity Interview, if for no other reason than to discuss your mesmerizingly silent work as the foreign-born-we-guess goaltender in 1986's ROB LOWE-PATRICK SWAYZE puck flick, Youngblood. (Think Jake Gyllenhaal and that Spiderman guy in the recent release Brothers, but replace "post-traumatic stress disorder following a tour in Iraq" with "sibling rivalry in Canada and having to do with minor league hockey.")

We realize, of course, that borrowing a conceit so soon after its entrée into the pop-culture ether is a risk. Sure, we could point to its relevance and currency, and to the fact that we are, on some level, being creative - turning the prism just-so, to elicit additional spectra - but some might see that as an easy-way-out short-cut, the opposite of creative. Having said that...let's do this thing.

You may get sick of seeing him in every other commercial ('though, generally speaking, he's peerlessly good in them - and we don't limit that designation to athletes hawking beer) and, yes, it's pretty annoying to watch him go all sourpuss when one of his lineman gets caught holding or a sure-handed receiver drops a spot-on pass, and, okay, it's hard to decide if it's more irritating to witness the constant love his team gets from officiating crews, the Polian-bullied competition committee or sycophantic color commentators, BUT: Peyton's a whale of a player and we are all truly lucky to have "been there when." Having said that...

...his 8-8 post-season record, while sure to improve (this week, book it), is arguably the least impressive and most important stat on his resume. It'll be a shame when he loses to his Dad's old team in the Super Bowl, won't it? Speaking of...


Everything about the Saints' victory over Arizona on Saturday screamed "statement game," right down to the final score. Having said that...

...what should scare the remaining teams isn't so much the 45 on the board as the 14 beside it. Putting up nearly fifty points has become an occupational hazard for DREW BREES and Co., but shutting down a theretofore high-flying Cardinals offense, holding best former-ballboy ever LARRY FITZGERALD to 77 yards receiving and, presumably, forcing God to pick New Orleans over self-implied Chosen One KURT WARNER? That's all mighty impressive.


Hard to imagine a worse performance at 2 PM on Sunday than those we witnessed from the series of turn-styles playing Tackle for the Cowboys late in the 1st half. Having said that...

...when we channel-surfed during a commercial, we landed on HBO to find BILL PAXTON in Vertical Limits, and we stood corrected. Incidentally, Vertical Limits up against playoff football - talk about a counter-programming white flag. Was Stop or my Mom Will Shoot! not available?


After what went down in Sunday's loss to the upstart Jets, NATE KAEDING had every reason to kick himself. ('Though we're guessing it would've sailed wide left.) Having said that...

There was plenty of blame to go around for the not-quite-Norv-proof Chargers, including the coach's panic-button decision to opt for an onside kickoff. Sure, Kaeding's missed field goals were game-changers, especially in a nail-biter, but even granting that the J-E-T-S matched up damn well against San Diego, a home game with two weeks prep-time to go against Gang Green and their even greener quarterback should never have been a nail-biter. (But hey, wanna coach the team for three more years?!)


In HAITIAN QUAKE RELIEF news, the NFL last week pledged $2.5 million dollars to the victims of the tragedy in Haiti. Good for them. Having said that...

...better for them would've been dwarfing the donation from the lovely Mrs. # 12, instead of merely not quite doubling it. The model philanthropist pledged $1.5 mill. Wow. Gisele Bündchen. She's all about the Benjamins. (Just ask her kid.)


Baltimore and all their pretending-to-retire-types like ED REED and DERRICK MASON (see ya next year, fellas) obviously had a pretty crappy time last weekend. Having said that...

...SANDRA BULLOCK walked away with a Golden Globe™ for her role in mouthy Left Tackle MICHAEL OHER's life story, The Blind Side, so the weekend wasn't all bad. (Unless you're talking about JOE FLACCO and Baltimore's passing offense, in which case it pretty much was.)


Last week Out-Takes referred to the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS as "the A-Rod of the NFL," which we considered fairly apt. Having said that...

...perhaps even more apt is this bit of NFL-MLB analogy: LADAINIAN TOMLINSON - dynamic, beloved, productive and iconic, then suddenly injury-prone, petulant and flame-out-ish - looks more and more every big-game-he-pouts-after like the NOMAR GARCIAPARRA of the NFL. (Bonus analogy: JAY LENO is the BRETT FAVRE of LATE NIGHT, which might seem a little obvious, but only because it's a lot true.)

Blooper Reel: Championship Round Predictions Edition

~ If you convened a team of all-world psychiatrists, each of whom held a PhD in sports fan psychology, and if this team then spent weeks studying the BUFFALO BILLS FAN BASE to determine the things what would demoralize them more than anything outside of an early 90s Super Bowl-a-thon, is there any doubt that "Tap journeyman CHAN GAILEY as Head Coach amidst rumors that MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER lobbied for the job and got nixed by RALPH WILSON" would crack the top 5?

~ REGGIE BUSH was absolutely dazzling Saturday. He was everything so many envisioned when then-Texans GM and now "media-rologist" CHARLEY CASSERLY betrayed type by smartly - and, at the time, controversially - selecting MARIO WILLIAMS number one overall. If USC's poster child for Why Pete Carroll just hightailed it up the coast to Seattle channels his inner GEORGE ELLIOT ("It's never too late to be what you might've been..."), New Orleans could eclipse the records set way, way back in '07 by the Brady bunch here in New England.

~ Hey, KELLEY WASHINGTON, looks like "the Era is over!" for you and the Ravens, too. P.S. Nice drop. Now on to the games...

~ It had started so well. On Saturday night, Out-Takes rolled into bed feeling good and smug. After Week One's slow start (1-3), we'd already doubled our win total from the previous week, going 2-0 for the Day One games. Then came WADE "contract extension?!" PHILLIPS and Dallas' appearance in the Metrodome, by which we mean...their disappearance in the Metrodome. Okay, we figured, no big deal. SAN DIEGO OVER THE JETS is a no-brainer, regardless of how well Rex and the Gang matched up. But then came...

NORV "contract extension?!" TURNER and his strategy to run the Chargers' second-best running back nine times in the first half; a defense who couldn't stop the Jets terrific tandem of old (THOMAS JONES) and new (SHONNE GREEN) and a kicker who inspired Friend of Out-Takes - and relative football novice - SILVA to ask, with a wide-eyed sort of wisdom, "So the guys that kick...shouldn't they never miss? Isn't that their job? Don't they just spend all day kicking the ball?" Point taken, Silva. (We borrowed the phrase "point taken" from the phrase "points taken off the board.") Having said that...

Helluva game by the Jets. Seriously. We'd say you've gotta hand it to 'em, but they do a pretty good job of handing it to themselves, so let's just move on to predictions...

~ It's SHUT UP WEEK in the NFL. At long last, two mouthy teams and their respective mouthy coaches get shut down and shut up. INDY sends the Cinderella JETS home to finish sweeping out the Giants Stadium chimney they rent, 24-13. The SAINTS complete the process of bringing a Katrina-ravaged populace from their knees to their feet, exultant, as they top the VIKINGS, 42-31, and subject us all to one more off-season of the Old Man Who Won't Go Away. Or *Will *He?


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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