The Austin Chronicle

'NFL Analysis 101': Fiendish Fish, Frolicking Amphibians, and the Fancy Lads of Fitzgerald

By Timothy Braun, March 19, 2007, 10:40am, The Score

What the New England Patriots are doing this offseason is astonishing. After dropping a sizable lead to the Colts in the AFC title game, and Tom Brady admittedly lacking confidence in his receivers, the Pats have broken from past ideologies of catching affordable, blue-collar free agents. Instead, the Pats have scrambled to build a team. For the first time in the Billy B administration the Chowders are showing signs of both desperation and erosion. With regards to teams on the rise, watch for both Green Bay and Tennessee to make noise in the coming days, as they have waited for this free-agent market to tranquilize. These two squads are aiming to add discounted role players, like former Colts CB Nick Harper.

Now, it’s not easy to lecture on football during March Madness, but I am professional, and after two games my bracket looks like Swiss cheese. Thus, for today’s class we will bend our attention to the NFC East, a Freudian free-for-all division. Let us begin!

Dallas Cowboys
Printed Comparison
: Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
“Call me Romo.” With owner Jerry Jones as Ahab seeking to spear that elusive shiny Super trophy, he just might demolish his own ship in the process. Jones has alienated so many coaches, and tainted his vessel with thugs and drifters; one can see this boat sinking under the burden of his desire. With just a few more tattoos and piercings, Terrell Owens would make an exceptional Queequeg, the fish-killing cannibal with a death wish (he did try to eat the career of Donovan McNabb and half of the 49ers). Poor Tony Romo has no idea what voyage he is on.

Prognosis: I like Wade Phillips, and he knows to keep your head above water in this division you must play defense. The ‘boys need a safety and a defensive end. He will look to right the ship with Reggie Nelson from Florida in the first round.

New York Giants
Printed Comparison
: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Eli Manning is the quiet rich kid that every one seems to like, but no one seems to understand why. He’s got charm, and a sexy arm, but he’s clearly got a secret. Manning must be deeply in love with the retired Tiki Barber, who wouldn’t be? Wide receiver Plaxico Burress feels jilted, and convinces the dim-witted Jeremy Shockey to murder the livelihood of Great Eli with his ridiculous comments and constant injuries. Peter King tells the whole story, just like Nick Carraway, while sad jazz music can be heard in the rain.

Prognosis: Can anyone recall such ill will amongst a team and coaching staff? The Giants, like Fitzgerald, have it all, yet are self-destructing. More than a position player, they need to address harmony. For the sake of Great Eli, they need to remove Shockey and Burress, before the jazz age of the Giants comes to an abrupt halt. This franchise must add a component that will love Eli, Daisy Buchanan style. Nothing says love to a QB like an offensive lineman. Levi Jones can fill that void.

Philadelphia Eagles
Printed Comparison:
Frog by Stephen Dixon.
I want to know what Donovan McNabb did in a former life to deserve the rubbish he has put up with in Philly? Rush Limbaugh, Terrell Owens, those dull soup ads, and being booed by the Philly fanatics on draft day back in ’99. Karma owes this man a fruit basket. McNabb is showing signs of becoming Frog’s protagonist, Howard Tetch, an angst-ridden college professor ready for violent outbursts. This team needs to get him a wide receiver before he goes atomic. But the comparisons don’t stop at that; Frog is a sprawling story with odd and eclectic characters that could easily line up in a warped Jim Johnson blitz-happy defense. At more than 800 pages, Frog lingers, like the past three seasons for Philly fans, always showing sparks of life but too exhausting to be pleasurable.

Prognosis: McNabb needs a weapon, but the Green Birds need to stop the opposition. Defensive end Charles Johnson is a fine fit. He can leap off the line like an … um … rabbit.

Washington Redskins
Printed Comparison
: Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers by Michael Newton.

Zoology: meaning the study of animals.
Crypto: meaning the study of bullshit.

Owner Dan Snyder might be the world’s foremost cryptozoologist, constantly searching for fantastical monsters in free agency that don’t exist. He has brought in “smurfs,” fiendish “hogs,” and a dinosaur named Joe Gibbs to tussle his beasts into shape. Sadly, the chief of the Redskins is living in the past, attempting to reclaim the three-time Super Bowling decade of the Eighties with a formula as dead as New Coke. The Redskins cannot return to postseason play with flavor-of-the-month offseason signings, and the hope of magic fairy dust dropping from the clouds. They must build with the draft and create continuity.

Prognosis: Once again, the Redskins draft in the top 10. They need DT Alan Branch, a Sasquatch from wolverine country.

For Next Class

Read Book of Salt (or, would Terrell Owens eat Monique Truong?)

Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.