Had a chance, between suspensions and preseason games and all of that good stuff, to go back and read all of the comments to my division winner picks, and division loser picks. First of all, thanks for all the feedback. I love a good, spirited debate and you guys, when you weren’t attacking me, did a nice job of going after each other.
To me, it’s all in good fun, even the dudes who called me an “idiot,” which is nothing new for me to hear/see, and especially to the person who called me “Hollywood Boy.” I’m not even quite sure what it means, but for someone who essentially operates alternating between his attic/office and basement/makeshift-studio in Baltimore, I’ll take it. Beats the heck out of “Basement Boy,” (never been called that before, either, but now I’m scared it might actually catch on). And, a special shout out to pkdlxxx (a handle on NFL.com). Bro, what the heck kind of stuff are you writing in the comments? Pretty much every one of your comments is deleted due to content. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m kind of intrigued now to know that of which I could not read, even though my instincts tell me the target of it all is ‘ol Hollywood Boy himself (wow, in a weird way I just went third person for the first time in my life).
As to the larger content of the column, a fair number of people saw things as I did. Like I wrote originally, all of this is subject to change and let’s talk turkey when the 53-man rosters are set, but there were a few things that I caught the most heat for. Many of you bashed me for not picking enough surprise teams.
I can see that, considering how every year a team or two comes out of the blue. But, heck, six of my projected division winners didn’t win the division last season. Seattle is coming off an ugly season and I have them rebounding. I have Green Bay making a pretty strong bounce back as well. Did I kind of go chalk, in terms of elite franchises with my picks? Yeah, guilty as charged. But there is some decent variation from a year ago, I figure (and, again, if I get 60-70 percent of these right, regardless, it’ll be surprising, that’s just how it generally goes).
This leads to the element that seemed to elicit the most heated diatribes – my pick of Seattle. Was glad to see Cardinal Nation (a term I never figured I’d use unless pertaining to the St. Louis baseball team perhaps … or the legion of unfortunate souls forced to root for the Calvert Hall Cardinals of Towson, Maryland, a lot doomed to forever try to keep pace with those mighty Loyola (Blakefield) Dons, but I digress.
Oh, yeah, back to the Seahawks. I admit they have some flaws but I just kind of have a hunch about them. I think they will curb this injury bug – it has to end eventually, right? – and restore their home-field advantage and get it straightened out. And, I also think Matt Hasselbeck will have a strong comeback season. The thing I got ripped most for was calling him the best QB in the division. I think he will be just that in 2009, because I have trouble conceiving of Kurt Warner getting through another season unscathed. If he stays healthy and gets through most of the season, then the Cards are right there. I just don’t see that happening, hence this pick. I also love a lot of what the 49ers are doing (a happy, healthy and productive Michael Crabtree would put them over the top, but I’m not sure if/when we will see all of the above). I have a strong vibe about San Francisco and would not be surprised at all if they made it to the postseason.
The thing that surprised me most about the entire exercise, however, was the lack of drama about the cellar dwellers. Man, I figured I’d have all kinds of people all over me for that. Instead, everyone focused on the winners and I skated by. Raiders fans are loud and vocal – that’s how they roll – and that is a pick I really strugglled with. By the time the season starts I may be going with the Cheifs bringing up the rear, and this Brandon Marshall mess is among the things keeping the Broncos strong candidates for that disctinction as well.
Overall, I don’t think there will too many close calls for AFC division winners. I see most teams winning by at least two games or more.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read along and chime in. Much appreciated.
Randoms: Should I act odd, or simply break into snoring, during NFL Total Access tonight, please keep the following in mind: Last night was truly bizarre, even by our standards. Took well longer than normal to drive back from the Eagles game, because we are getting pummeled by heavy rain (nothing like the people in hurricane country have to deal with, but a severe offshoot). So I finally get to our street around 2 a.m. and there is a police officer stopped up ahead and a 60-foot tree or so stretched across to the other side of the street, and a downed light post as well.
I creep ahead and realize, hey, that’s the tree that used to be in front of our house. Jump out of the car, check everything out, talk to the officer, run around the rest of the house to make sure nothing else came down. We’re all good there. Run back out front, realize that if the tree had fallen in the opposite direction it would have taken out our bedroom and at least part of my daughter’s room as everyone was sleeping. My wife never heard the tree, she didn’t know what had happened until I got inside to tell her.
It’s a dark street already, and now we’re missing a large street light, but the officer said he’d called the crews about clearing everything out. I worry that those cones he’s setting up might not be enough of a warning given how dimly lit the street is, but he opts not to close the street at the main intersection. Inside, Rosso, usually a good sleeper (albeit it an early riser) is already going bonkers, with all the storms waking him up I suppose, and my daughter is nearly awake, too.
Try to rock Rocco back to sleep, put him down to brush my teeth and hear a crash, and lots of yelling and screaming. Run to the window, and sure enough a kid and his girlfriend smashed into the tree. Cue the lights, field sobriety test, handcuffs and DUI arrest. Now it’s about 3:30. Kids still not falling back to sleep, Rocco screaming in his crib, bring him into bed with us. Another round of crazy storms roll through, big booming thunder, hear an even louder crash and a sound like someone slamming their accelerator while in reverse to get out of a ditch.
By the time to I get to the window a guy is going crazy jumping around and throwing things; his pick-up truck is leveled, nearly plowing through the tree. This guy had to have been flying. Call 911 again, explain that, yes, there is another accident in front of my house, and they say the police are on the way. Five minutes later, as this dude is now throwing huge tree branches around and pounding on front doors, I call 911 again and three cars are quickly on the scene as I look for anything upstairs that would make a handy weapon with this guy now banging on our front door. Kids are now going crazy, Lauren shaken up.
This guy, too, heads off to jail around 4:45 or so, lights swirling, tow truck trying to yank the remnants of his truck away, him still yelling and cussing. Rocco eventually finally screams himself to sleep because nothing else would work (not even the bottle), I’m in Chloe’s bed to calm her down and get her to sleep, and around the 6 am the guys are outside hauling the tree away. Crazy, crazy night. All in all we’re very lucky – from where the tree fell to the guy running to the front door – it could have been much, much worse. But with any luck we’ll all get some much-needed rest early tonight.