After five weeks of strange and goofy football the two remaining undefeated teams are the teams with the tallest names. I don’t think that anyone out there is really surprised that the defending champion New York Giants are among the elite, but I’d gamble (and I do) that the Tennessee Titans’ standing in the league comes maybe not as a shock, but an eyebrow raising surprise to some.
The Titans are one of the newer teams in the NFL… sort of. They officially became the Tennessee Titans in 1999 after two goofball years as the Tennessee Oilers when the team up and left the rundown city of Houston for a city with even a little bit of money and some zoning laws. Some people remember the Houston Oilers for Warren Moon and their “run and shoot” offense that was hyped up a lot, but never really seemed to work. I remember the Houston Oilers as a team of half-winners with no defense at all. Their moving didn’t come as a great shock to me or anyone I knew. Houston was busted, and Nashville was a largely ignored market with plenty of money.
Some cities are cursed for football and Houston is one of them. The Houston Texans are the newest latest tentacle of the ever-expanding National Football League having had their first season in 2002. They’ve been a miserable failure ever since with a dismal franchise record of 32-64 with no playoff appearances. They had their finest season yet last year finishing at an even 8-8 which surprised me and was probably cause for celebration in the streets of their crack-laden city.
Why is it that some cities simply cannot have a good football team? Cleveland is an excellent example of this. The Browns’ splotchy history is riddled with losing seasons with the occasional playoff appearance sticking out like a black person at a Tool concert. The last year the Cleveland Browns went to the playoffs was 2002, ironically the same year the Texans began their shameful legacy with a dismal 4-12 season. The team was so bad for so long that they finally abandoned the accursed city on the Cuyahoga River in 1996. The whole team… players, coaches, staff, everyone… moved to Baltimore where they changed their name to the Ravens and immediately started winning. It was amazing. These were the same people that had been losing in Cleveland for years. The only thing that changed was the color of their clothes and the city that hosted them… two things that shouldn’t matter.
Or should they? The Tampa Bay Buccanneers were consistently the worst team in football history until they changed their logo and uniforms in 1997 from the faggotty orange and white into the current pewter, black, and red. They immediately started winning. They got the wild card slot that year and won their first playoff game since 1979. 5 Years later they won the Super Bowl. It’s hard to argue that psychology may have something to do with it.
The case is the same with the New England Patriots. They were a laughing stock with their ugly red white and blue uniforms and that goofy looking buffoon on their helmet. They finally changed it in 1993. They made the playoffs the next year and went to the Super Bowl, albeit losing to the Packers, in the 1996 season.
All of this begs the question “what are we rooting for?” The teams move around. The uniforms change. Coaches and players come and go. Who are the “Seattle Seahawks” or the “Chicago Bears”? Few, if any, players on any team are from the city whose flag they fly, so there isn’t even any relevance there. Why is it that the Cowboys and the Raiders are ugly and evil while the Packers and the 49ers are beloved and revered across the country? Why is it that the Arizona cardinals will never win a Super Bowl? Why is it that the Cowboys will keep winning them? Why is it that the Seahawks will always choke? Why is it that teams from Baltimore are always contenders? Will Detroit ever go to the playoffs again? Will the Cincinatti Bengals? Will the Carolina Panthers ever not be a threat? All of these questions and no real answers. Ah well, at least the Steelers covered the spread.
Week 6 picks
Chicago @ Atlanta
Tough choices across the board this week and this game is no exception. Both teams are a notch above mediocre in this league. Atlanta puts up huge numbers at home, but the Bears play more consistent football. Bears by 1
Miami @ Houston
Two weeks ago I would have scoffed at this game and made fun of both of these teams. Miami beat two top-seated teams in two games and I have to give them credit. They don’t look like the shameful losers that they appeared to be at the end of week 2. Houston, on the other hand, looks exactly like the shameful losers that they are. They almost had it yesterday until they laid down and died for the broken Colts. Boo Houston. You are the worst. Dolphins by 6
Baltimore @ Indianapolis
I am ashamed to have picked the Colts to go to the Super Bowl this year. They have truly let me down. Let’s chalk it up to a rebuilding year. Ravens by 5
Detroit @ Minnesota
One of these two teams are finally going to win. Which one will it be? You guessed it. Vikings by 6
Oakland @ New Orleans
It always brings a smile to my face when the Raiders have a pathetic losing season. I would say I don’t know why I hate them as much as I do, but I know exactly why. They represent everything trashy and wrong not only with football, but with American culture. The Raiders would vote for McCain and love him while he bumbles this country into a disease ridden third-world nation. Saints by 4
Cincinnati @ New York Jets
Not much to say here. The Jets are consistently weird and unpredictable, but it is easy to predict that Cincinnati will lose an away game. Jets by 10
Carolina @ Tampa Bay
Wow. Another really tough one for me. Both of these teams are winners even though the Bucs lost last week. Still, they put up a fight against the Broncos in Denver and the wins that they do have are against good teams. Carolina is solid, but I think Tampa is going to best them. Buccaneers by 1
St. Louis @ Washington
This game is as lop-sided as the rusty arch in the busted-ass city of St. Louis. Washington is going to pound them into dust. Redskins by 10
Jacksonville @ Denver
Jacksonville is a mediocre team with the vague potential to have a winning season while Mike Shannahan and the Denver Broncos are a consistently winning powerhouse. Broncos by 8
Dallas at Arizona
Arizona surprised me yesterday when they viciously made fools of the unbeaten Buffalo Bills. They are on the top of their division and look like they might be the NFC West Champs this year. None of this, however, changes the fact that the Cowboys are easily the best team in the NFL and will solidly beat them in their hometown. All you have to do is look at the team names… Cardinals versus Cowboys… and the prediction is as easy as sleeping in on a Saturday morning. Cowboys by 5
Philadelphia @ San Francisco
The Eagles started this season out with a bang and a close call against the Cowboys, but they shot their load and now they look like a broken race-horse on its way to the glue factory. 49ers by 2
Green Bay @ Seattle
This one breaks my heart. I grew up in Wisconsin and have a special place in my heart for the Green Bay Packers. I will always love them. I cannot help it. Even when they are pathetic losers and tremendous chumps I will still secretly cheer when they score a meaningless touchdown in the fourth quarter of a game they had lost by halftime. I live in Washington, but I hate Seattle and the Seahawks. They’re losers and chokers and clowns and jokers. They proved it last week when they got swirlied by the Giants in New York. Still, the Seahawks have the potential to win, Holmgren knows how to beat the Packers, and they’re playing in Seattle. Green Bay is broken and their egos bruised. After their loss at home to the Falcons they and I both know they aren’t going anywhere this year. They’re going to mope through this game and lose. Seahawks by 3
New England @ San Diego
Both of these teams got beat by the Dolphins. In a strange way they are competing against each other to see who can save some face. The loser will go home shrouded in shame. That will be the Chargers. Patriots by 2
New York Giants @ Cleveland
Really? Who scheduled Monday night football this year? A blind woman from Pakistan? Monday nights are supposed to be dirty showdowns and action-packed gridiron, not routine road-paving operations like this one. I’d rather watch reruns of Murphy Brown. Giants by 8