NFL Sequels & the Honeymoon Period
When you go on your honeymoon a full year after the wedding, as Mr. & Mrs. Out-Takes just did, it can feel a bit like a summation, the blue ribboned gift-box stuffed to the gills with the moments, joys & celebrations - the highlights, if you will - that have accumulated during that span and helped to define it. It is with this in mind that we here at Out-Takes would like to high-five the cool hand of Fate and this off-season's hot topics, which seemed to reconvene while we were away.
As if sensing the coming slate of real games promised by September, the cast of characters who made their mark on the 2009 NFL hot stove (and Out-Takes's first months onscreen) have once again stumbled out of their trailers and into the light, ready or not for their close-up. Here are but a few of the recent stories that stood out, familiar as sequels, and graded high on the "practically write themselves scale," which columnists still in the honeymoon period deeply appreciate.
Captain Taint himself, co-star of the movie that brought us such memorable lines as "Getting stuck in your zipper was the best thing that ever happened to you!" and "Is that hair-gel?" up and did what we all knew he'd up and do. Signing with the Vikings - right after two-a-days ended! Weird! - should rightly ruin Favre's legacy and relieve him of all that goodwill from the sweet-natured Midwesterners now sadly double-fisting Monterey Jack all over Green Bay. Meanwhile...
Some of his disrespected Vikings teammates are rumored to prefer TARVARIS JACKSON at QB. Sure, Jackson's no great shakes, and he made a poor decision in a playoff game last January, and, yes, #4 is a Hall of Fame lock with multiple MVPs and a Super Bowl ring. But if "poor decision in a playoff game" is a disqualifier, Minnesota's fan-base might want to check out the guy denying there's a "schism" in the locker room, in addition to denying "schism" is a word.
As for Vikes owner ZYGI "No, seriously, what's your name?" WILF, he ought to check Brett's "Best By" date. You're not getting the vintage '96 Favre, you're getting the one who made PENNINGTON apologists cackle with glee as Miami stormed the Meadowlands last December and came away with a post-season spot. Three picks off your back foot and "My arm hurts!" would've been forgiven and forgotten, Brett. Signing with your archrival as some sort of macho, petulant in-your-face to TED THOMPSON? Not so much. Sticking with the Vikings...
Even as we await the inevitable next turn as the NFL's very own Runaway Bride, we expect "Brett Favre, Prom Queen" has enough in common with "Brad Childress, High School Musical" (copyright, Out-Takes 2009) to maintain some kind of uneasy alliance or, at least, a really exclusive Mean Girls-style clique, no matter how things go in the Land of a Thousand Lakes. That said, "Major Brad" remains atop every columnist's "coaches on the hot-seat" list. And his response to ADAM SCHEFTER's scoop that #4 has "little support" in the Minnesota locker room didn't exactly help:
"Those are opinion. It's hard to shoot holes in an opinion. Opinions are just that, it's an opinion." Brad Childress - they don't call him "the Shakespeare of the NFC North" for nothin'! (P.S. Can you say "opinion" one more time?!)
After dominating the early headlines of the off-season, Jay treated us all to a period of relative (and welcome) silence. But in past weeks, he's made up for lost time. A few lowlights:
1) Earlier this summer, rumor had it that BRIAN URLACHER referred to Cutler as a word we like to describe as "worse than, and rhyming with, wussy." Ex-Bear BOBBY WADE was spreading that one right up until he began frantically denying it. We suspect this occurred moments after Urlacher and/or his publicist called to tell Wade that those comments could make Brian look bad. (And as a guy who came closer than most to Paris Hilton, Urlacher knows from "looking bad.")
- Then came Cutler's recent interview with ESPN Radio Chicago wherein he made comments about the respective fan-bases of his (first) two NFL teams: "Denver's like a 6 and Chicago's like a 9. Just the fans and how passionate they are, that's probably the biggest difference."
Jay Cutler, ladies and gents - a guy who will boo-hoo his way out of a good situation because someone in the Denver F.O. did due diligence; a guy who kicks his former fan-base when they're down; a guy with so little common sense that he actually rates the new fan-base, the one whose ass he's attempting to kiss, a "9" - an indication, we guess, that he feels they have room for improvement. You heard it, Bears fans, according to Jay, while you are top-notch - don't get him wrong, you're very, very good - you rate not a 10, but a 9. A 10 he'll save for his NEXT team, just as soon as JERRY ANGELO makes the egregious mistake of picking up a telephone.
3) And finally, just a couple months into his stint as Bears QB - because learning the playbook and the El aren't keeping him busy enough - Cutler expects a say in final roster decisions. According to the ARLINGTON DAILY HERALD ("Suburban Chicago's Information Source!"), Jay thinks "they're definitely going to ask me. If they don't ask me, I'm going to tell them what I think because I've got to be the one throwing to them on game day, and I've got to trust them."
We understand that this kind of attitude is fairly prevalent in big-boy sports. And Cutler wouldn't be the first Chi-town athlete to insist on high-level consultation. (See "Rules," comma, "The Jordan." Then see "Hasn't even sniffed a ring," comma, "Cutler," and "Has six," comma, "The Mike He's Trying to Be Like.") But, Jay, come on. Even you can't be this dense. Just in case, a word of advice: Despite their 9 rating, Bears fans are psyched to finally have a legit QB. And you've looked terrific in training camp and pre-season thus far. Let that do the talking.
Actually, come to think of it, don't. It'll make our job easier. (Except for that "Who do we root for?" thing when you play against Favre.) So forget the word of advice, and we will, too. Instead let's all focus on another word that seems to suit you just fine. If you're wondering what it is, give Bobby Wade a call. And some truth serum.
Another "while we were away" story plays out just as we and a million others not named Plaxico Burress predicted - with the self-shooting, non-gun-registering ex-Giant unable to land his dream sentence of "no jail-time and no community service." Tough break, Plax. See you in a couple years - in Philly, we presume.
THOSE UNSIGNED ROOKIES
As of Out-Takes press-time, MICHAEL CRABTREE (The Fast One) and ANDRE SMITH (The Fast One minus the "s") remain unsigned. Crabtree still insists that he deserves better "slot money" because he should've been drafted higher. Smith is holding out because of...hard to say, really, but if we had to guess, our money would be on "Doritos Clause." In any case, these guys are throwing away their rookie seasons because 20 mill isn't sufficient. This, during a time of high unemployment and low fan morale. Fellas, maybe take a second look at FRED TAYLOR's "happy to have a job at all" philosophy.
~ Earlier this month PETER KING reported in "Monday Morning Quarterback" that 2008 Patriot villain BERNARD POLLARD barely missed rolling up on the knee of MATT CASSEL in a Chiefs training camp session. So much for those jokes about Pollard and Cassel cooking this up a year in advance of Cassel landing in KC. Apparently the hit on Brady was just step one in Pollard's master plan to put MATT GUTTIERREZ on the NFL map.
~ We'll likely have more on this next week, but if you haven't seen the video of BRANDON MARSHALL "practicing" in Denver, it's worth checking out. After you do, anyone with a two-year old turning red with tantrum or a tween whining about rescinded texting privileges should give your kid a pat on the head and/or a new car for relative good behavior. Please, Denver, please - don't trade this guy. Suspend him and get as much of his money as you can.
~ A few headlines we were (not all that) sad to miss while floating down the mighty Blackfoot in all our "A River Runs Through It" glory:
MICHAEL IRVIN TO GO DANCING WITH THE STARS. Just when you thought Irvin and his checkered, party-house past represented the most controversial, Texas-specific aspect of the upcoming season of ABC's mega-hit reality show, along comes disgraced, Jack Abramoff-friendly ex-Congressman TOM DELAY (R, Texas), aka "the one who smiled gleefully in his mug shot."
CABLE SUCKER-PUNCHES ASSISTANT COACH. (Oops, almost forgot - "allegedly.") Something tells us we'll have more to say in the coming weeks, but we'll start with this: Only in Oakland. (Okay, okay. Maybe Cincy.)
A non-football-related headline of the Honeymoon period, courtesy of The Huffington Post: "ACTOR IN AD ON HOW TO STOP SWINE FLU COMES DOWN WITH SWINE FLU."
Any readers wondering if that story came straight out of The Onion can rest assured...you're not alone. Get well soon, Swine Flu Guy!
- 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.)"*