A concerned e-mailer named
"I challenge you to come up with a poem each week," she writes, "or better yet, an entire week of poems, one for each team."
My dear madam:
My verse you've praised,
To do your wish
• Here comes a chap after my own heart (you can't have it).
Joe, you're preaching to the choir. In my house, when my children were growing up, and even afterward, we called these "Bugs." As in, "Maaa, he's bugging us again!" Bugging has been a sacred calling during every stage of my life. When I was a beat man on the Jets, we'd bug coach
When I was in the army, the target was a poor old master sergeant who'd usually come in hung over. I'd go next door and call our office.
"S-3 office, 1264th, Sgt. Fabian speaking, sir."
But what you suggest would be shortstopped by an editor, and next thing I know, my phone would be ringing angrily. It wouldn't work. But hey, I like your ideas. Keep trying.
Some background -- 1934 was only the third year in which individual stats were kept in the NFL. The papers never ran them. They were left for concerned members of the club to piece together, somehow. Feathers, a Chicago rookie in '34, actually missed two games with a bad shoulder, which makes his astounding total of 1,004 yards rushing, which, divided by his 101 attempts, came out to 9.94, even more surprising.
It put the yards per carry mark out of reach, probably for all time. It was so amazing that it was suspect. When I wrote my
They were not kept back then. I strongly suspected that a few of them had been added to his rushing totals, thereby jerking up the average. I had no proof, just a very strong suspicion. I looked through old newspaper reports from 1934. I could find no mention of Feathers even putting together a 100-yard game. As I said, individual stats were not mentioned in the press.
Beattie's 9.94 yards per carry mark stood on the books for 57 years -- 101 carries, 1,004 yards. Then in 1992, hello there, it got a facelift. The 101 carries became 119 in the official NFL record book. Like thieves in the night, masked statisticians somewhere found 18 more carries for Beattie. The new record became 8.44, based on 1,004 yards divided by 119. Fourteen years later
So if you ask me about
• Let's turn the long range siege guns on TV. "I thought you were going to behave this week," says Redheaded Wife. Yeah, OK, next week, I promise.
I answer both at once.
• "What do you think about
"The NFL is doing despicable things to its once glorious game," Damien writes. "Are you going to take action?"
You bet I am. The very nerve. Which way'd they go? A quick call to
"Stay calm," he says. "Nobody's allowing anything. Polian was just speculating about what they should do."
You hear that, Damien? The panic is over. Keep me informed on further developments. Eternal vigilance, that's our cry.
Q: How is the Dolphins Wildcat different from the single wing?
Q: What exactly is a nickel defense?
Honestly, I can't find T.O. types in the history books. Oh, I guess the Packers'
• What common denominators do you see in the bad teams, asks
I hope this answers your question, although to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I understand it.
• My little "cold, colder, coldest" throwaway line about Buffalo drew a stormy response from
Our father, who art in Houston...
The Redhead is begging to answer this one. "Have we tried it?" she says. "You betcher Ovka."
• Two-part question from
1. Is there really a home field advantage for most football teams?
2. How do you reflect that edge in your picks?