has yet to play since his pizza-induced injury. (Gary Wiepert/AP)
You’ve seen (and likely disagreed with) my Midseason team grades. Now the Sour Rankings take a spin through the worst of the season's first half in the NFL …
10. How Nate Burleson scored free pizza for a year: Detroit wide receiver Nate Burleson was back on the practice field this week, a little more than a month after he broke his arm in a car accident ... trying to save a pizza from sliding off the passenger seat.
And the folks at DiGiorno's took advantage for a rare marketing opportunity:
Not quite the ideal way to score a year's supply of pizza, but at least Burleson can laugh about it now.
MIDSEASON COVERAGE: Highs, Lows | All-Pros, awards | Grades | Best 2nd-year players
9. Brett Favre Watch: The Rams reportedly called Favre's agent, Bus Cook, after Sam Bradford's season-ending injury -- Cook said in September that Favre "could play today ... He's in the best shape I've ever seen him in, physically."
Of course, Favre's name came up again this week with Aaron Rodgers suffering a fractured collarbone. Luckily for all of us, Cook told ESPNMilwaukee's Gabe Neitzel that the 44-year-old Favre is and will remain retired.
But, hey, Jeff Garcia's waiting by the phone!
8. The Ravens' party bus: You didn't forget about Sweet Pea just because Jacoby Jones is playing again, did you?
TMZ reported in September that Jones was involved in an altercation with a stripper named Sweet Pea, while celebrating teammate Bryant McKinnie's birthday on a party bus. Jones denied there was any physical confrontation, though he did say, "I’m going to take the responsibility that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
7. The 0-16 chase: Both the Buccaneers and Jaguars are halfway to joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only 0-16 teams in NFL history. Tampa Bay came close to stopping its slide in Week 9, racing out to a huge lead in Seattle before collapsing for an OT loss. Jacksonville has not even come close yet, failing to even lose by single digits.
6. Rob Ford's NFL tie: Considering the lengths commissioner Roger Goodell goes to in hopes of upholding the league's "brand," he could not have been thrilled to see embattled Toronto mayor Rob Ford sporting an old-school NFL tie during his latest press conference.
"Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine ... in one of my drunken stupors," Ford told the media Tuesday. He then held a press conference, during which he felt it would be appropriate to bust out a circa 1996 piece of apparel:
You'll notice the Saints' state of Louisiana logo, as well as the Buccaneers' Bucco Bruce (which was retired as the team's logo in 1997). Also featured: A Houston Oilers logo from before the team moved to Tennessee, also in '97. Oh, and you can pick up your own version of that tie on EBay for a cool $19.99.
5. Mascots: From the lighthearted (like Jacksonville's mascot taking a chest-full of paintballs after losing a bet) to the absolutely moronic (the Falcons' mascot tweeting this: "Had a good time at the #ood suicide prevention walk today. I may need to go back if our season continues the way it is.")
Somewhere in between fell the Raiders' unveiling of their new mascot, who looks like he should be stealing pizzas in a 1990s commercial:
Just be glad this guy was not a real Redskins mascot ...
4. Josh Freeman's performance: Spread over four starts (three with Tampa Bay, one with Minnesota), Freeman completed 42.9 percent of his passes. That's the lowest mark in the league by nearly 10 percent -- Cleveland's Brandon Weeden is at 52.8. No NFL QB who has thrown at least 224 passes in a season (the NFL's requisite minimum to be included on league-wide leaderboards) has finished with a worse showing since Detroit's Rusty Hilger ended 1988 at 41.2 percent.
Freeman is still 77 passes shy of that 224-pass cutoff. It may be best for him if he never gets there.
3. The NFL's crackdown on the most random problems: The NFL announced during the preseason that its officials would be more strict on taunting calls -- Sidney Rice was flagged 15 yards in Week 3 under the league's new rule against spinning the football in front of an opponent.
The league then hit Robert Griffin III with a $10,000 fine for wearing an "Operation Patience" shirt prior to a preseason game, under the guise that it was "unauthorized apparel." A few weeks later, this happened to RGIII's teammate, DeAngelo Hall:
Perhaps worst of all, Chicago wide receiver Brandon Marshall -- who has received treatment for a borderline personality disorder -- was hit with a $10,500 fine for sporting green shoes to promote Mental Health Awareness Week. That punishment came in the midst of the NFL's push for Breast Cancer Awareness, which has included everything from pink shoes and receiver gloves to pink flags.
2. Tom Brady's outfits: Maybe the NFL should step in with some fines here ...
There was the grandmotherly white sweater, that mock turtleneck/sport coat combo and this Halloween showing:
(Brady gets a bit of a pass for No. 3 under the "If a supermodel tells you to wear a lion costume, you do it" rule.) He's also off the hook for that nightmare-inducing placement of his head on Miley Cyrus' body for a short remake of "Wrecking Ball."
1. Buttfumble 2: Mark Sanchez's original "Buttfumble" may live forever in football infamy, so even Geno Smith's own embarrassing moment cannot take that from Sanchez. (Not like, say, how Smith took Sanchez's job.)
In a Week 4 game against the Titans, Smith took a shotgun snap from his own 16, backpedaled, then attempted to pull the football behind his back as Karl Klug bore down on him. Smith never made it around his own derriere, fumbling mid-move. Klug recovered it for a touchdown ... making the end result the same as Sanchez's misfortune.
[si_video id="video_086C058A-D60A-B8FF-D01A-210A40C57437" height="470"]