With the exception of the Seahawks' neon numbers, the Broncos' ode to the '84 Padres and the Jets wearing Titans duds no one remembers, it's hard not to love most of the designs and colors offered up by each franchise. Most thankful for in this order: 5) The Cowboys always wear white at home (mandatory navy throwbacks on Thanksgiving periodically being the exception). 4) The Chargers seemingly embrace the powder blues more often. 3) The Raiders never waver on the silver and black. 2) The Bucs bring back the creamsicles for their one win this season (make it permanant!!!). 1) The Niners rid their threads of the past 15 years and return to the simple Montana classics. TOP 10's: Worst ever coaching moves | 2nd-half predictions | Guilty pleasures | <fstl:content
No matter how bad they are, or how completely destroyed they get every Thanksgiving, the NFL will never surrender and yank the Lions from the schedule. And they shouldn't. Let's say the schedule makers got together last spring and said, "Let's give fans a great game on Thanksgiving. Let's see: The Titans had the best record in the league last year, so they're in. We'll just match them up with the Panthers, who were 12-4. Can't miss!" Ugh. Does it really matter who's playing on Thanksgiving as long as it's the NFL? The point is there are no guarantees when forecasting a great game eight months in advance, so we might as well embrace tradition and keep the Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving forever. TOP 10's: Worst ever coaching moves | 2nd-half predictions | Guilty pleasures | <fstl:contentl
Give the man credit he finds a way every year to give us a great villain to root against. Whether it's blowing off former coaches' handshakes (although if you saw Eric Mangini on the street now, would you shake his hand?), surreptitiously taping other teams' practices (Bill misinterpreted the Patriot Act and thought secretly taping stuff only applied to his team), never saying more than 10-13 words when responding to a question (he won't be appearing in any Coors Light commercials like Jim Mora), or doing something no other coach would ever do (going for a 4th down deep in his own territory while leading by six), the Hoodie always gives us something to talk about. TOP 10's: Worst ever coaching moves | 2nd-half predictions | Guilty pleasures | R
Deciding a champion on the field
Could you imagine if hacks like me in the media decided at the end of the regular season who would play in the Super Bowl? "Well, the Giants and Titans are ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in FOXSports.com's Power Rankings, so I'm going to vote for that matchup as the Super Bowl!" The last time two No. 1 seeds have reached the Super Bowl was in 1994 when the Bills and Cowboys met in Atlanta. The Steelers and Giants winning three playoff games on the road to get to the Super Bowl in '05 and '07, respectively? Never woulda happened. The Cards' impossible run to Tampa last year? A mirage. A playoff system is a beautiful thing. TOP 10's: Worst ever coaching moves | 2nd-half predictions | Guilty pleasures | Retro
A tsunami could hit my town of Hoboken, N.J. and I would still find a way to get to my sports bar to watch all of the Sunday early games simultaneously. About 40% of the reason is because it's my favorite sport to watch on TV (hockey wins for live viewing) while the other 60% is due to fantasy football. No joke. My ego is such that I can't handle losing to lesser mortals who stumble on drafting guys like Cedric Benson (pre-injury), Vernon Davis or Matt Schaub, while I take the likes of Forte, Westbrook and Delhomme and struggle to stay above .500. I was all over the Bills-Jags game on Sunday for Mike Sims-Walker and Josh Scobee alone. Would I care otherwise? In an effort to make the NBA, NHL and MLB more interesting, I also played fantasy for those leagues, but it just wasn't the same. How could I get excited over a 28-point night for Nowitzki in December? A two-goal game for Crosby in March? Two runs scored and an SB for Chone Figgins? Too many games, too little impact, not enough tim
Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady
Ali had Frazier, Bird had Magic, Coke has Pepsi and the NFL has Brady-Manning. Due to scheduling that calls for all division winners to play each other the following season, these two always seem to meet despite playing in different divisions. And it never gets old. Each went through the other in the playoffs to win three Super Bowl rings combined (including Peyton engineering an 18-point comeback in the '07 AFC Championship). Best story: When Brady first played Manning back in 2001, the following conversation occurred: "It was [Manning's] third year in the league when I was a rookie [in 2000], and [in 2001], my first start came against the Colts," Brady said. "Peyton came over on our field and said, 'Hey, I'm Peyton Manning.' I said, 'No [bleep].' " Maybe that's the one problem: There's not enough vitriol between the two, but it's still the most compelling individual rivalry we have in sports right now. TOP 10's: <fstl:contentlink contentId="10392746"
I get offered to go to Jets' home games eight times a year. But even if the team was on a Saints or Colts-like run, I still wouldn't alter my sports bar routine. Flatscreens have allowed bars to place more TVs on walls, allowing more games to be shown at once, thereby making the experience (and number of Jack and Cokes consumed) that much more awesome. Some sports bars now even have mini-Internet cafes strictly to set fantasy lineups or check scores for those without Blackberries. And remember what it was like to watch a game that wasn't in high-def? It's not even a pretentious thing to write anymore, given that I just bought a used 36-inch flatscreen on Craigslist for $200. Not having high-def to watch football is like not having a VCR in 1990. Why spend big money to go to a game in the snow, rain or cold of December when there's no reason to leave your couch or local barstool? E-mail me ... I'm curious like a cat. That
Speaking of technology, what sport is more interactive than the NFL because of instant replay? Critics say it slows the game down and takes away the human element. I say it's a phenomenal way to play ref. Everyone at my sports bar becomes judge and jury in the weekly "catch/no catch" debates. Some morph into coaches if a situation arises whether to toss the red hankie or not (except Eagle fans, who never have to wait for Andy Reid to challenge in even the most obvious situations not to). My dream job: Getting paid the league minimum to be an Instant Replay consultant. You only work one day a week to sit in an undisclosed location with three TVs and a bat phone into a head coach's headset with my only decision being whether to challenge a call or not. "Listen Lovie, Hester didn't even get two feet in when making that catch. Put that red flag away IMMEDIATELY!" For a few hundred grand, wouldn't it be worth paying a 20/20 vision guy like me to help make-or-break a season? <strong
Steroids aren't destroying reps of star players
A-Rod, Bonds, Manny Ramirez and Roger Clemens are four of the best players of their era, but the debate over whether they should be allowed in baseball's Hall will always diminish the incredible stats they've compiled. In 1987, the League first started testing for the juice, which put it leaps and bounds over other professional sports leagues in terms of implementation. By April 2005, the NFL had suspended 54 players. Outside of Shawne Merriman, is it something you ever really hear about, at least compared to baseball? Manny, A-Rod, Clemens, McGwire, Bonds ... all already found guilty in the court of public opinion or through testing that came far too late. The NFL? No Brady, Manning, Favre, Peterson or Owens on any kind of list. The NFL is seen as a relatively clean sport as a result, at least publicly. TOP 10's: Worst ever coaching moves | 2nd-half predic
The salary cap
Being in New York for a Yankee-hater like me was like getting waterboarded for four straight weeks. All you heard was how great the Yankees chemistry was, how "smart" they were for dumping nearly $600 million in salary on guys like Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett. Why did the Yanks win this year? Because A-Rod starting dating Kate Hudson and Joe Girardi suddenly knew how to motivate them! Forget the fact they outspent the team they beat in the World Series by $90 million and the team they beat in the ALDS by $135 million. They wanted it more! So while I go throw up in my nose a little, take solace in knowing that the NFL's salary cap ensures that small-market teams like Pittsburgh and Phoenix can appear in the Super Bowl. Factors like smart draft picks, cap management, solid coaching and team philosophy mean much more than who has the biggest wallet. At least until the cap goes away next season, right? Joe Concha Share your poignant perspective and compel
TGIF ... Thank goodness it's football!
This Turkey Day weekend, it's time to give thanks for family, friends, HDTV and, of course, the National Football League. Always one to count his blessings, Joe Concha has 10 things that make him particularly grateful in 2009.