Xark began as a group blog in June 2005 but continues today as founder Dan Conover's primary blog-home. Posts by longtime Xark authors Janet Edens and John Sloop may also appear alongside Dan's here from time to time, depending on whatever.
Tony Romo is a good quarterback. He has a winning record, good statistics, a great arm and above-average wheels. In Week One, he threw for a personal best in yardage, plus three touchdowns.
But in Week Two, the Cowboys lost to the New York Giants in their stadium opener. Romo's stats were poor, and he threw three interceptions.
By Monday morning, the media was calling for the man to be ritually eviscerated. One after another, the talking heads on TV paraded by, talking about what a failure Romo was. How he couldn't lead. Blah, blah, blah.
Welcome to what's worst about America.
What's worst about America are retired prima dona wide receivers who ought to know better, reducing the ultimate team game down to one man. Posturing and preening former stars talking about how "it all boils down to winning."
Why do they do that?
Because we encourage it. Because we love this in-your-face, reality TV psycho drama.
Because the truth is boring. The truth is that after two games, the supremely talented Dallas defense still hasn't picked up a fumble or an interception, much less a sack. The truth is that, when it counted, Romo led the Cowboys from behind to take the lead with less than four minutes left. The truth is that the Dallas defense let the Giants drive 56 yards in 11 plays, milking every last second off the clock before kicking the winning field goal.
The headline on Yahoo Sports the next morning? "Romo costs his team the win."
This is destruction of human beings and their reputations as entertainment. And we're all of us implicit in this farce, because we encourage it. We allow it.
Here we go again. If Romo has a decent game, will we then anoint him the second coming of Christ?
The only nagging question in the deal that brought Denver QB Jay Cutler to my Chicago Bears this week was Cutler himself: Was his refusal to "take one for the team" in his dealings with new head coach Josh McDaniels a sign that Cuter is a whiny, selfish crybaby?
Old School football fans agreed he was, that it was Cutler's responsibility to "suck it up," shut his mouth, take his marching orders from the 32-year-old McDaniels and "lead his team."
Sound familiar? Sound like what you've been hearing at your job for years?
Does to me. In fact it sounds EXACTLY like the kind of crap American workers are used to taking from their idiot managers. That's because we've accepted the idea that in America, loyalty runs only one way. Workers are expected to sacrifice for the "team," but "the team" doesn't return that loyalty when profits drop below projections. Hello, layoffs.
So here's what happened in Denver: First-time head-coach McDaniels came in and started putting "his people" in place. Like most good little scared workers, Broncos players kept their mouths shut.
But when Cutler lost his respected position coach in the shuffle, he didn't like the move and didn't pretend otherwise. And McDaniels pretty clearly didn't like being challenged. Young leaders are often like that.
I used to make football picks on this (and other) blogs, until I realized that there were better technologies and places for the obsession. But now the football picks feature at Facebook is broken on the morning of the last week of the season, and so it's back to the blog to record these. Those of you with lives are encouraged to move along.
So future first-ballot Hall of Famer Brett Favre is un-retiring, and the Green Bay Packers don't want him back. That means one thing: Temporary pandemonium in the NFL.
First, and let's get this out of the way up front, Favre is 36 going on 12. Got it? You can call this personal character trait charming, charismatic, passionate, competitive, immature, selfish, stupid, whatever. It's all of those things. Favre's just a guy who will be in middle school his entire life. If you're into that, cool. If you're not, stay away.
Which brings us to our subject: Now that Green Bay has decided to pass on Favre's services, the Packers simply must trade him. All three of the Packers' NFC North opponents would start Favre if they had him, and the Minnesota Vikings would be extremely likely to make a determined run at signing him if he ever becomes available as a free agent. The Vikings with Favre would be an NFC Championship favorite, and they also happen to be the Packers' opening week opponent. Ouch.
Hence, this principle is so foundational that it goes beyond a mere rule and must be considered a given: You don't release Favre, because you can't ever allow him to wind up with an NFC North team. EVER.In fact, you might even put a "no-re-trade" clause in any deal you write, just to prevent your trading partner from flipping Farve to the Vikings for a blockbuster offer.
With that out of the way, here's...
RULE NO. 1: BRETT FAVRE CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO STEP FOOT ON THE FROZEN TUNDRA OF LAMBEAU FIELD IN ANOTHER TEAM'S COLORS DURING THE 2008 SEASON
That's the Packer's nightmare scenario, and it's why they'll think short-term first. Screw 2009. Just don't allow Brett to stalk them on their home turf.
That removes non-division home opponents Dallas, Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Houston from the list of possible trade partners. Gone. No matter what they offer.
RULE NO. 2: WRITE OFF THE PACKERS' 2008 ROAD OPPONENTS WHILE YOU'RE AT IT
Brett playing against your team is just a no-win situation for the Packers' front office. So add Tampa, Seattle, Tennessee and Jacksonville to your "off-limits" list.
RULE NO. 3: FLAG ALL POTENTIAL PLAYOFF OPPONENTS
Favre isn't likely to accept a trade to a non-contending team, which means you'll have to be very careful about trading him within the NFC. We've already removed seven NFC teams, and of the remaining eight only two are potential contenders that would have reason to consider trading: The Arizona Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers.
Favre would start for both teams, and would likely make either the odds-on favorite in its respective division.
Could the Packers trade him to Phoenix or Charlotte? Sure. But that added risk -- that Green Bay wins the North only to host Favre in a playoff game -- will have to add a punitive premium to the Packers' trade requirements. In other words, if the Cards or the Panthers want him, they'll have to offer an absurd package of draft picks.
CONCLUSION: BRETT FAVRE IS HEADING TO THE AFC
There are five American Conference teams in the running, one of which makes perfect sense as his next employer and another that could turn a Favre signing into a cascade of good fortune. Read on...
There's an interesting subplot haunting the preparations for next month's NFL, and it would likely involve two of the league's most iconoclastic owners: Brain-eating zombie Al Davis and Cowboys showboater Jerry Jones. Follow along:
Jones, who played for Arkansas in college, is in the market for Razorback halfback Darren McFadden, and he's bankrolled by two first-round picks. You'd think that would be a good start for a move-up-and-get-him deal, but Dallas' picks are No. 22 and No. 28. In the informal but sacrosanct system that NFL general managers use for covering their ass on draft day, those two picks have a combined value of 1,440 points.
The No. 1 overall? It's valued at 3,000. Basically unreachable.
But it's becoming increasingly clear that no team will take McFadden with the first pick, in spite of a near-consensus view among scouts that McFadden is the best running back prospect to enter the league in a decade.
How far will he slide? He's unlikely to be drafted before the No. 4 pick (1,800 points, Raiders), but would almost certainly be drafted no later than No. 6 (1,600 points, Jets). That's a range that Jones could reach -- if he really, really wants to get his man.