Out-Takes Takes on...the Oughts!
Okay, so we're a little late to the party, one week into "oh-ten," but that's a quirk of the schedule, and besides, how else were we supposed to stand out amongst all those other "...of the decade!" columns - by being FIRST? Wasn't gonna happen. So put away those clever, barely unwrapped "F the E-conomy" t-shirts you just balled up and trashed like so many Bills coaches, cut the faux sincerity you offered up in the face of a nuptial-themed, Blockbuster DVD combo-pack from your wife ("Bride Wars AND 27 Dresses?! Thanks, honey!!!") and let's - Me, You and Everyone We Know - take a final look back on a decade of NFL Mementos, Crashes and a Tuck Everlasting...
The EDWARD NORTON IN FIGHT CLUB AWARD for Gutsiest Kick in a Stone-Cold Situation: We know. It's too easy. We kick off with the greatest, most clutch field goal in the history of the NFL - and opt for that lame "kick off" pun, to boot. (And that one!) Still, how do we not put it up front? Even in light of his sketchy move to the controlled "climes" of dome life, we assume Patriots fans still thank God for ADAM VINATIERI. And WALT COLEMAN. Speaking of...
The "WATCHOO TALKIN' 'BOUT, WILLIS?!" SIXTH SENSE AWARD for Best Reveal that Sure Seems Obvious After Further Review: The correct application of the Tuck Rule. You weren't even aware it existed - unless, of course, you watched the Jets benefit from it earlier in 2001 against the Patriots, in which case that famous replay and Coleman's overturn made a heckuva lot more, um...sense. Nearly a decade later, one universal truth remains decidedly under-harped on: The Raiders had approximately one thousand more chances to win that game, but didn't possess the mental toughness to rise to the, ahem, challenge of even one of them. (Oh well, at least they got to be totally humiliated in the Super Bowl by their ex-coach the next year!)
The ROMAN POLANSKI AWARD for Best Run (Rosemary's Baby, China Town, the Pianist...) by a Guy Who Ended Up Being Indicted for Despicable Behavior Later in Lifegoes to... MICHAEL VICK, for his 2001 overtime scamper against the pre-Love Boat, pre-Favre Vikings. However despicable his actions were off the field, Vick's electric, game-winning pinball routine was pretty darn nasty. (But in a good, not-drowning-Marmaduke sort of way.)
The PAUL GIAMATTI IN *AMERICAN SPLENDOR * AWARD for Best Performance in the Role of a Loser: TERRELL OWENS in Super Bowl XXXIX. 9 catches for 122 yards despite a too-early return from a severely sprained ankle and a fractured fibula - thanks, Roy "horse-collar" Williams!
The "PRESIDENT" CHRIS ROCK IN HEAD OF STATE *AWARD for Worst Performance in the role of a Winner: BEN ROETHLISBERGER for his historically putrid showing in Super Bowl XL. 9 completions in 21 attempts, for two picks, zero touchdowns (Out-Takes tied him!) and a Super Bowl-record worst QB rating of 22.6. As for Chris Rock, we're big fans of the fierce, pacing comic, stalking his prey from the stage, but his *Head of State acting wasn't exactly Best in Show.
The "SHOW ME THE MONEY!" AWARD for Most Easily Mocked, Totally Tired Rant...ends in a tie between HERM EDWARDS ("You play. To win. The game!") and DENNIS GREEN ("They were who we *thought * they were!") We know we're right on target with these two because we felt dorky and awkward for even bringing them up and writing them down. Let's just move on.
The "YOU COMPLETE ME" AWARD for Best Touchdown Pass: ROETHLISBERGER TO SANTONIO HOLMES put a stake through the heart of Super Bowl XLIII and the handful of sports fans willing to openly admit an affinity for the Arizona Cardinals. (NOTE: We're still not entirely convinced that the Super Bowl MVP got both of his feet down, but no one else seems to be complaining, so we'll let it go, if for no other reason than to set an example for the odd nerd or two who takes issue with us twice referencing Jerry Maguire, which - we know, we know - was a film from the previous decade.)
The MO'NIQUE IN PRECIOUS AWARD for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: DAVID PATTEN for his underappreciated work in the Snow Game against the Raiders. You hear all about Brady & Adam & Walt, and rightfully so, but Patten's 8 catches for 107 yards - especially that deflection reception - is worth another look-see. As is comedienne (and periodic Charm School higher-up) Mo'Nique, whose wayyyy tougher-than-nails turn as Last Place Mother-of-the-Year Contender storms through a film called *Precious * that's anything but.
The WHO CAST PIERCE BROSNAN IN MAMA MIA! AWARD for Worst Personnel Decision: The 2006 Dolphins pass on eventual All-Pro DREW BREES in favor of eventual Lions washout and chronic Randy Moss-misser, DAUNTE CULPEPPER. Given what BILL PARCELLS has since put together in Miami, arming the 'phins with an elite QB like Brees would've made them as brutal on the gridiron as Remington Steele's "singing" is on the ABBA-flavored big-screen. (According to *friends * who saw it, we mean. 'Cause we didn't. We swear.)
The SETH ROGEN LANDS KATHERINE HEIGL IN KNOCKED UP AWARD for Most Miraculous Catch, Regular Season: ANTONIO FREEMAN's on-his-back and off-his-facemask reception in overtime on a Monday Night back in 2001. That game-changer sent a million fantasy footballers cursing (or cheering) into the night on the absolutely, positively last play of the week.
The JONAH HILL LANDS EMMA STONE IN SUPERBAD AWARD for Most Miraculous Catch, Post-Season:Out of respect for New England fans still unready to process it, let's check back in another decade or so. Quick question, though, sent in by a reader: "Exactly how the %#@! long does ELI have to be 'in the grasp' before the refs blow the %#@! whistle?!" (Fair question.)
The BRENDAN FRASER IN BEDAZZLED AWARD for Inadvertently Accurate Predictiongoes to St. Louis WR (and, for the record, TECMO BOWL Wunderkind) RICKY PROEHL, whose pre-Super Bowl XXXVI sideline proclamation - "Tonight, a Dynasty is born, baby!" - wound up as prophetic a lame statement-ending-in-"baby!" as has ever been uttered. Not prophetic for his Rams, of course but, hey, the man said, "A Dynasty" is born. He didn't say which Dynasty.
The MATRIX SEQUELS AWARD for Dodging Bullets and Ending Up Disappointed Anyway:WADE PHILLIPS avoiding the torch & pitchfork crowd after starting ROB JOHNSON over DOUG FLUTIE in the game that gave "The Band is on the Field!" a run for its "fantastic finishes" money. While plenty of Bills fans still feel buffaloed by this son of a Bum's mind-boggling decision, that frustration remains overshadowed by something even more indefensible - a dubious lateral, a TE named WYCHECK, a Ute named DYSON and a little thing called the MUSIC CITY MIRACLE.
The M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN'S THE
HAPPENING AWARD for Over-hyped Story of the Decade:JANET JACKSON's "Wardrobe Malfunction" at Super Bowl XXXVIII was all anyone could talk about, post-game. And the story really had legs (among other body parts). Congress investigated, for God's sake. As for MARK WAHLBERG, we like him a lot (and not just for Entourage), but who the Hell thought "math teacher in a sweater vest" was a good idea?
The *STATION AGENT *AWARD for Under-hyped Story of the Decade: PATRIOTS-PANTHERS - among the most compelling, action-packed back-and-forths in the history of championship sports - nevertheless wound up taking a backseat to "Nip Slip," as did one of the truly unsung renditions of the *Star Spangled Banner * the world will ever hear, courtesy of some single lady named Beyoncé. Meanwhile, PETER DINKLAGE, BOBBY CANNAVALE & PATTY CLARKSON teamed up for a witty, sad and hopeful little tour de force that Out-Takes is only happy to shine a great big Klieg light on. Run-don't-walk to your NetFlix queue. (You're welcome, in advance.)
The NAUSEATING ANTHONY HOPKINS-RAY LIOTTA ACTION AT THE END OF HANNIBAL AWARD for No-Brainer of the Decade:TOM BRADY winning Comeback Player of the Year for 2009 earlier this week. The only honor # 12 - our pick for NFL Player of the Decade (another no-brainer) - has ever received that Patriots fans never want to see him win again. Congrats on the award, Tommy. Now go win a better one.
Blooper Reel: Wild Card Round Predictions Edition
~ The JETS soar in to sweep the home-and-home with Cincy, 24-20. REX RYAN and the Gang Green fan-base - separated at birth? - continue their over-the-top trash-talk about winning a Super Bowl they will ultimately, definitely and hilariously not even get to.
~ The EAGLES, also in soaring mode, take down the COWBOYS in Jerry's Shangri-La, 27-21, as the Football-slash-Karma Gods finally exact revenge on WADE PHILLIPS (him again) for his latest brain-freeze, which came a few weeks ago in the Big Easy, where he iced his own kicker.
~ The PACKERS knock the CARDINALS off their perch (no soaring for you!), 34-24, in a desert-style barn burner. Legions of the elderly make their way from stadium concession stand to Early Bird diner, mumbling incoherently about wanting "Lombardi and Starr" to win, anyway.
~ The PATRIOTS fire up their muskets and shoot down the Ravens, 27-17, as Belichick, Brady & Co. go out and "Win One for the Welker."
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.)