Dr Z
Wednesday October 15th, 2008

The year was 1992. I was in Philadelphia, covering a Monday nighter, Eagles against the Cowboys. Dallas was 3-0, all three victories over division opponents. The Eagles also were unbeaten, and the city was stoked for the game. The morning of the contest, I took a walk with Jimmy Johnson, and the fans we passed offered him many predictions about what the Iggles were going to do to his 'Boys, and what he could do with that whole club of his anyway. He got a kick out of it.

"We're going to lose tonight," he said, "and it'll be the best thing that could happen to us."

I was dumbfounded. Astounded. What coach ever predicted a loss before a big game? But the point was it was an October game, with the whole season to go. He was a very astute coach at gauging the mood of his players, and he knew that right then, in early October, his team was flying too high, getting too much adulation. It needed a sobering reminder that, "great generals, my friends, are not made of jeweled swords and mustache wax."

And it got it. The Eagles won big -- and reached the Divisionals, where they were crushed by, you got it, the Cowboys. Who went on to a 13-3 record, destroying Buffalo in the Super Bowl.

The message: Arizona beat Dallas last weekend, Cleveland beat the Giants in a Monday nighter, St. Louis defeated Washington. It's October, folks. And my rankings will not display the usual panic you are no doubt expecting. (Send comments to siwriters@simail.com)

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