Whoâs going to the hall of fame? Itâs always fashionable talk when an athlete is on top of his game to say heâs a future hall of famer. Itâs a phrase that gets tossed about like with the ease one may use to toss socks into a hamper. Donovan McNabbâs name is being mentioned. Iâm a big fan of â5,â but I think he has a few more years of high level performance ahead of him to punch his ticket to Canton. I think itâs in the scope of possibility, but McNabb isnât quite there yet. Still, to get into the debate is an accomplishment. Hall of famers are rare. Brian Westbrook is the greatest Eagle running back of the past 50 years and heâs not even close. Lynn Swann got in before John Stallworth. Swann made some unbelievable catches, but Stallworth both played and performed at a high level longer than Swann.
The truth is hall of fame voting is subjective. Popularity has as much to do with getting in as a lifetime body of high performance work. Has Ray Lewis sufficiently rehabbed his reputation after that obstruction of justice verdict several years ago? I think he gets in. Iâm not sure if heâs first ballot. He should be. Iâve seen Ray play. Ray owns the middle of the field when heâs on it like no one else Iâve ever seen. Not Harry Carson, Brian Urlacher, Dick Butkis, Mike Singletary or Willie Lanier. Tom Brady probably gets in, but itâs not quite sealed. Tom gets hurt again and clings to a few subpar years trying to chase the past and he could play himself out of the hall. Kurt Warner almost did. After last year I think he redeemed himself and gets in, but I donât think heâs a first ballot lock. Really I see two in the game right now: Terrel Owens (groan if you want but outside of Jerry Rice heâs the best Iâve ever seen) and Payton Manning. Payton is that rare stuff that lives up to the hype of being the first overall selection.
That brings us to Bill, as in Belichick. In coaching thereâs a holy trinity of Amos Alonzo Stagg, Pop Warner and Vince Lombardi. Belichick was almost in the ultimate coaching ring of honor, the rarest of rarified air. Alas, Bill, why didnât you punt? Forget the game, weâre talking your legacy here. Seriously, send Ray Perkins a Christmas card this year. Ray was the NY Giant coach who signed off on a call that had Joe Pasarchick handing off to Larry Csonka that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the âMiracle of the Meadowlands.â Rayâs blunder is still considered the dumbest call in the history of the NFL. Thatâs the good news, Bill. The bad news is you get to take the heat for making the right call. Manning was Michael Jordan-like in the zone hot. I know like you did that punting and giving olâ Payton 40 more yards to work with was futile. Your best chance to win was to hold on to the ball and run the clock out. Itâs not your fault the ref blew the spot on that 4th and two call. Like so many times in life when we make the right decision for all the right reasons and things just donât work out. At least it wasnât surgery. right Bill? Do yourself a favor, next time think of yourself and punt. If your defense caves in the fans and pundits will blame your players, and youâll still be the hero. Whether your team wins or not.
Alright here are the games as I see them this week. Remember any losses incurred by relying on said information is the result of your own dumbness.
Eagles -9 over Redskins. The birds went into the season with lofty ambition and have come down to earth with a paltry (poultry?) 5-4-1 record against the spread. This is the time of year when Philadelphia suddenly gets it together and goes off on a miracle ride and makes the playoffs. The Redskins on the other hand play like a team truly snake bitten, and they know it. Scoring more than 20 points only three times this season does not a good road bet make. The zippoâs out of butane. Eagles in a beat down.
Rams +3 over Seahawks. The Rams are horrible. The Seahawks are average. But the Rams can run the ball, theyâre home and theyâve covered 4 of their last 5. Thatâs a trend Iâll stay with. Rams, baby.
Patriots +3 over Saints. The Saints may be the most complete team in the league right now, but Iâm not sold on the inevitability of a Creole Champion. The Saints have trailed at some point in their last 4 games and covered once in those four. And that was only because the Bucs are challenging the Lions for the first pick in the 2010 draft. This is where the bubble pops. Take the pats and the points.
49ers â 4 Â½ over Jaguars. Jacksonville is usually the biggest team in the league. That may be why they canât get out of the way. Remember a few years ago when Jack Del Rio decided the best way to encourage his team was to bring in a log and an ax? That motivational speech went horribly wrong when the punter buried the ax in his thigh. The Jags have covered once in their last 6. Hardly the stuff winners are made of. 49ers wear gold for a reason. Take the bay area boys.
Vikings â 10 over the Bears. 10 points is a lot to lay. Consider that the Bears have covered only once on the road all year and that 10 spot looks reasonable.
Thatâs my five. Enjoy the games.