Three weeks into the NFL season is the perfect time for "pundits" to start changing gears. The pre-packaged opinions they have been force-feeding us since the preseason are starting to fall apart. As a result, they're busy cranking out inane new storylines and trying to justify their gross miscalculations.
The prime targets for these sweeping generalizations are the most recognizable of our helmeted warriors – the quarterbacks.
Going into the season, the media harped on Steve McNair's triumphant return to greatness, Daunte Culpepper's miraculous comeback from knee surgery and the impending breakout season from Chris Simms
, to name a few.
Most knowledgeable fans – like you people – were able to separate the real analysis from uneducated hype, but that won't stop our friends in the MSM (Mainstream Media) from producing more of the latter.
We're going to beat them to the punch, as the Cold, Hard Football Facts so often do. Expect to be inundated with the following quarterback-related storylines in the next few weeks ...
"Eli Manning is an unflappable comeback specialist." (And his horrific first-half performances continue to put his team in the hole.)
"Steve McNair was overrated to start the season." (Of course, the only people overrating him were the media.)
"Jake Plummer has no reason to look over his shoulder." (In other words, the media efforts to fuel a QB controversy in Denver have failed so far.)
"Daunte (1-2) Culpepper and Ben (0-2) Roethlisberger came back too early." (Maybe their comebacks weren't so inspiring after all.)
If you haven't seen these stories yet, rest assured. You soon will.
Crap that actually came from somebody's mouth
"Chris Simms is polite, accommodating, works hard and plays hard. He puts in the work. So when he got off to a slow start this year, it was a bit of a shock."
– Pete Prisco, CBS.sportsline.com
"Think what you want about Simms. Maybe he will develop into a championship-caliber quarterback. Maybe he won't. But there's no questioning his toughness, not after his performance on Sunday."
– Neil Hayes, msnbc.com
A few final questions about the Simms situation:
1) Did anyone question his toughness prior to the injury? Or is this just a way for sportswriters to act like they've been preaching his toughness from the start?
2) Isn't toughness a given about any NFL quarterback? It's like reading a story about Carl Lewis that says, "boy, he sure was fast."
3) Being tough is great and all, but if you're a quarterback with a passer rating of 46.3 with 1 touchdown and 7 interceptions after three games, toughness is not your problem.
"Best third-round pick in the league this year: Falcons running back Jerious Norwood."
– Peter King, SI.com, after Week 2
Some analysts say it takes up to three years to truly evaluate an NFL draft. Peter King, normally a Cold, Hard Football Facts favorite
, thinks two weeks is plenty.
"When they try to finesse you, they allow penetration." – John Madden on the Patriots
We think he stole that line from Jenna Jameson
(gratuitiously pictured here) in "Riding Miss Daisy."
"That (pass) doesn't do much, but Michael Vick shows you he has touch." – Joe Theismann, on an incompletion to Alge Crumpler
His newfound "touch" must have eluded him on his other 19 incompletions against New Orleans.
"The field has taken away the speed of the Atlanta Falcons." – Theismann
Yet somehow, the Saints rushed for 146 yards in their first game on the same field. Theismann talked up the "field problems" seven times (that we documented).
"Absolutely. You make the move to a proven winner... here's a guy (Matt Leinart) who is savvy enough, is experienced enough in college football; he did show in the preseason that he could do it." – Woody Paige, Around the Horn, on why Leinart should replace Kurt Warner in Arizona
Got that? Warner has two MVP awards, a Super Bowl ring and the second-highest passer rating in NFL history (93.8). Yet he should be dumped for a "proven winner" like Leinart. Forget the fact that Leinart has never played in an NFL game. The kid is "savvy," after all.
Woody Paige and his ilk don't have a monopoly on piss-poor predictions. Even our beloved Hurricane Ditka blows the wrong way from time to time.
"You gotta watch out today; it could be two in a row for the Jags – two shutouts." – Mike Ditka, on ESPN, previewing the Week 3 Jax-Indy battle
Going into the game, the Colts were averaging 421 yards and 34.5 points per game. History wasn't on Ditka's side, either, considering the Colts have averaged nearly 30 PPG over the past two years. Indy won, 21-14.
2:1 – John Madden has no idea there is something called a "Madden Curse."
5:1 – Joe Theismann asked someone off the air Monday night who this "Katrina" lady was that everyone was talking about.
10:1 – John Madden has no idea that there is still a video game named after him.
Media Rant of the Week – The Legend of Bill Maas
The date: Sunday, September 25
The place: Cardinals Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
The event: St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals
The football world's premier mutant took center stage. He's been crafted by Pigskin Detention gods; he's part Theismann, McGuire, Sharpe (Sterling or Shannon, take your pick), Nantz, and even Bradshaw. When he's not talking, he's thinking of his next comedic line – or deciding how to convey the simplest of thoughts to what he perceives to be his mentally inferior viewing audience.
He's Bill Maas, the former star Kansas City defensive lineman turned Fox broadcaster. Marvel at the perfect Pigskin Detention form.
Three hours of football with Maas is the equivalent of a Nick Cage movie marathon. It's so bad that it's entertaining ... for a while. By the end, it's just torture. But, hey, there's a reason why he's calling games like St. Louis-Arizona and not an actual NFL contest.
Here's a look at the Best of Bill Maas from this past Sunday ...
On the expected outcome of a challenge by Arizona:
"It's going to be the official's call."
On what he thought the St. Louis offense would do inside the red zone:
"Well, you'd like to see them punch it in."
In a futile attempt to be humorous:
"All this talk of men in the box is not about Hannibal Lector's lunchpail."
A snappy line on Larry Fitzgerald's hands:
"Fitz got mitts!"
On some trash talking between the Rams and Cardinals:
"I told ya, more chatter than a dolphin next to a fish bucket!"
On growing grass in Arizona:
"The only grass that grows in the desert is called fairways!"
On the Fox postgame show, The OT
"O.T.: Is that 'out of tuna'?"
Now we're really confused:
"Tony Fisher is everything you don't want and everything the coaches want on game day!"
On what ... we have no idea:
"That look right there will curl the spaghetti around a fork without a spoon!"
We couldn't make this stuff up. But that's why he's Bill Maas, and you are not.