It's time for the 91st NFL season to begin, but it wouldn't be a real NFL season without some really bad predictions from me. I'm the one who picked the Browns to make the Super Bowl in 1995 (they had fans throwing dog bones at them by the end of the year, as they tucked their tails between their legs and slinked off to Baltimore), told you to take
But we all have bosses, and mine have asked for my 10 predictions for this NFL season. I'll start with my reiteration of a pick most of you seem to think quite daft:
Now for your e-mail:
• INTERESTING QUESTION ABOUT THE TRADING DEADLINE.
Good question, Jeff, and there might be an extra move or two, but the inherent problem with the trading deadline is that it occurs too early in the season to give any general managers the incentive to make trades. This year the deadline in Oct. 19. On that morning, 20 teams will have played their sixth game; 12 teams will have played five. Buffalo and Tampa Bay, for instance, might know deep down that they're playing for 2011 and beyond, but both teams will have 11 games left at the deadline. Pretty tough to tell your fans, "Come to the last five home games so you can see your 2011 team.''
• THE PRESEASON GAMES DIDN'T HAVE A LOT TO DO WITH IT.
NFL teams are whining about not being able to figure out how to pick the best players for their rosters with the shortened preseason, but I don't buy it. Aside from the two preseason games, teams will have scrimmages and practice sessions against other teams. Even a guy who has never liked doing that much,
Regarding Leinart, this was a cumulative thing with the coaching staff. It wouldn't have mattered this year if the Cards played 12 preseason games. The combination of dissatisfaction with Leinart and discovering a diamond in the rough (
• LEE THINKS TOM BRADY IS OVERRATED.
Fair point, Lee, about Cassel's year. Rankings are always a tricky thing, as are judgments of players on very good teams versus bad teams. When I ranked the 100 best players in football, first of all, I'm not saying they're the most valuable or the most important, necessarily. I'm saying the best. Tom Brady is the quarterback of the best team of the past 10 years, the only active quarterback to have piloted three Super Bowl championship teams, and the holder of one of the significant records in the game -- most touchdown passes (50) in a season.
How much of that is the system? Cassel's strong year would suggest that it would have a lot to do with it. But did the system drive the Patriots downfield against the Rams to the winning field goal when all logic suggested New England should play for overtime nine years ago? Did the system win all of those 14 playoff games over the past decade? Should
• WE'LL ALL SEE IF THE BRONCOS ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH.
Hey, I've been a supporter of McDaniels as well, but this was a very bad weekend for him. You don't sign a player and give him $3 million guaranteed if he never plays a regular season game for you. And to trade a player who last year you gave up a first-round pick to acquire -- for an unaccomplished 2009 seventh-rounder? Those are the kinds of mistakes you just can't make when trying to take a team from the middle of the NFL pack to the top.
• CHARLIE BATCH IS A GOOD MAN.
Thanks a lot. It's inspiring to talk to people like Batch, who understand how lucky they are to be in the position they're in. One story I forgot to tell: A few years ago, a local high school team won the state basketball championship but the school board didn't have the money to buy the rings. Batch stepped in and gave the school the $3,000 needed for the rings. Just one of the many things he's done, under the radar, that make him different.
• GOOD QUESTION.
As I see it, three reasons: Childress involved three players who missed a night of meetings at training camp and a day of practice. Childress has gone to Mississippi, by my count, four times in two years to talk Favre into playing. And the Jets did their mission on a players' day off. I see your point, but there are some major differences there.