Monday, September 10, 2007

gene wojciechowski made 100 predictions in an article about the upcoming NFL season published last week

let's see how many of them are already wrong, or are almost certainly going to be wrong! i know i pick on gene an awful lot these days, but i can't help myself. espn constantly puts up links to columns like this one on their front page. if they're going to keep repping him like that, i'm going to keep complaining about him and his bad jokes/analysis. it's just what i do because i am basically an angry old man at age 23.

this is going to end up being pretty long, but don't let that deter you from reading it. there's no boring overarching concept you need to follow. just a bunch of small, unrelated, pithy bullet points. let's dive right in:

-If Donovan McNabb's surgically repaired right knee holds up, the Philadelphia Eagles will be the last remaining undefeated team.

oops! just for the record and to eliminate gene's no-injury condition, mcnabb took every snap at QB for the eagles in sunday's loss to the packers. the only way gene could have been more wrong here is if the league had switched the scheduling of that game with the saints vs. colts contest so the eagles could have lost on thursday night.

-I still think the Dallas Cowboys could have done better than Wade Phillips as their new head coach. That said, Phillips will do what Bill Parcells couldn't do with the Cowboys' 3-4 alignment: tweak it enough so Dallas finishes higher than 13th in total defense.

i have no problem with that first sentence. gene is spot-on there. as for the second sentence? well, after surrendering 438 yards to a giants team that was so-so on offense in 2006 (and didn't add any major pieces while also losing tiki barber), america's team is already firmly planted in the bottom 5. mwah mwah. i know it's a long season but things aren't looking good, particularly in the secondary.

-Everybody keeps saying Rex Grossman is the key to the Chicago Bears' season. Nuh, uh. Grossman will be fine. No way does he throw another 20 interceptions or slop around with a 54.6 percent completion rate. Nope, the guy who absolutely has to deliver the goods is running back Cedric Benson.

this is fine. grossman looked servicable against a tough san diego D on sunday, and i think it's very fair to say benson is key to chicago's success now that thomas jones is gone. so why am i copy/pasting this? because the next item on gene's list says:

-He will.

42 yards on 19 carries and a fumble. again, san diego is tough on D. and it's just one game. but... let's just say that based on almost everything benson has done since coming into the league, gene is already well on his way to being wrong. unless "deliver the goods" now means "be kind of capable and maybe end up with 1,000 yards."

-What do quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell and Michael Vick have in common? They both won't play in 2007.

thanks for the bold prediction about vick, there, gene. as for russell? well, he just signed his deal. and the raiders just got beat at home by the lions. by 15. and their top 2 QBs are josh mccown and dante culpepper. if anyone in their front office has half a brain, is there any reason whatsoever why russell won't at least be seeing a handful of snaps per game by november? if i were to ask this question of gene, his answer would probably be "but mike vick got in trouble for dogfighting."

-This will be the year new Denver Broncos running back Travis Henry scores more on the field than off it. For the first time in four seasons, he'll finally have more touchdowns (let's say, 12-14) than kids (9).

there's nothing crazy about that prediction. i'm just counting it as wrong because the joke kind of sucks. but can gene do worse? you'd better believe it.

-If sentenced to prison, Michael Vick will not be allowed to order Direct TV's NFL Sunday Ticket package.

i don't even think carson daly would allow himself to be caught telling that.

-Titans running back LenDale White can't screw it up two years in a row, can he? Nope. He'll get his act together. If he doesn't, you won't remember the Titans this year.

wojciechowski must've hired gene shalit to write that one. wojo's way too "dumb & dumber" to come up with something that tepidly clever.

-Another Chicago Bear will do something stupid at 3 a.m. (park his Ferrari on top of the Sears Tower ... try a swim move on a cop ... attempt to buy North Korean nuclear launch codes), and yet head coach Lovie Smith will bristle when reporters ask him if alcohol was involved.

apparently cars on top of buildings (what?), attempting to avoid arrest, and buying missile launch codes are now comedic situations. is anyone from england reading this? did gene get these ideas from you guys? not that i'm knocking british comedy, i'm just saying sometimes it's a little... weird... and maybe gene tried to work a perversion of something you guys came up with into his column. looking for answers, that's all.

-You will do very well in your fantasy league if you stole one of these three players in the later rounds: Chargers WR Vincent Jackson, Patriots WR Wes Welker, or Redskins QB Jason Campbell.

you will do very well in your fantasy league if you drafted a solid team top-to-bottom and manage to avoid injuries. none of those players will make or break your team. none of them. call me out if you disagree.

later, from the department of alarming self-contradiciton:

-If one AFC team is going to shock the world, it's going to be ... the Steelers. They could be 4-0 going into October. They also get their bye week just before they have to go to Denver and then Cincinnati. Granted, December won't be fun (Cincy, at New England, Jacksonville, at St. Louis, at Baltimore), but there's still enough talent on this team to cause Terrible Towel sales to jump.

very reasonable. i don't mind that analysis. gene should have quit while he was ahead, though. he wants to make a back up prediction as well. uh-oh.

-Runner-up: the Titans. VY makes the impossible possible.

this was item #55 on the list. about 4 inches up the page, this was item #61:

-And the Titans will still struggle to reach .500.

look, it's bad enough that this guy gets paid to write about sports. the least his employer can do is hire a decent editor to stop him from embarrassing himself. sheesh.

-Team with best chance to go winless: Falcons.

the falcons won 7 games last year. they lost vick but replaced him with joey harrington, who sucks but can at least stumble his way through a decent game from time to time. the raiders won 2 games last year. they lost randy moss, didn't really add anyone who can help in 2007, and play in a far tougher division and conference. am i missing something here?

-The AFC wild-card teams will be the Bengals and Jaguars.

-Last AFC team eliminated from playoff mix: Broncos.

official declaration: i (larry b) will personally eat 1 (one) hat (of my own choosing, options may include but are not limited to: baseball hats, ski hats, top hats, cowboy hats, oversized foam cowboy hats) if the jacksonville jaguars make the 2007 national football league playoffs and the denver broncos do not. i'm biased because i'm a broncos fan, but seriously: that's. not. happening. especially the denver part.

-If the Colts scuffle, it won't be because of rookie left tackle Tony Ugoh. I'd be more worried about the Colts' defense than Ugoh.

i think the word you were looking for there, gene, was "stumble." yes, if the colts "stumble," it will be for reason A and not reason B. was that it? you didn't want to use a synonym for fighting, but rather a synonym for having difficulty succeeding. right? i thought so. that's ok, you're only a professional journalist who is presumably fluent in the english language. don't worry about it.

-The best thing about the Raiders will be their unis. And Asomugha.

no explanation here for the asomugha inclusion. does gene think he'll have a particularly awesome season? or does he just like the word "asomugha" and the way it sounds when you say it with a mouth full of saltines? who knows.

-The worst thing about the Chargers is that they can't wear those powder-blues every week.

and their subpar WR corps. (except for my buddy rhema mcknight, who is on the practice squad. i am flagrantly name dropping him at this time.)

-I used to think Los Angeles would get an NFL franchise sooner rather than later. Now it's looking like the reverse is true. We're going on Season 13 without an NFL presence in the nation's second-largest market.

not a prediction, just a general observation and a stat. therefore, wrong.

-Chic 2007 NFC pick San Francisco isn't ready yet. Let the 49ers finish .500 or better (and they haven't done that since 2002) before we start crowning them.

what? are you serious? i know a lot of people are saying this could be the year san fran jumps from kind of crappy to kind of good and challenges for a playoff spot. but gene uses the phrases "2007 NFC pick" and "crowning them," as in, things you would say about a team that goes to the super bowl. absolutely no one is saying the niners are going to win the conference. no one. is gene trying to make a bold prediction out of a gigantic straw man? sure looks like it.

-Chargers general manager A.J. Smith won't be able to blame Marty Schottenheimer if San Diego doesn't reach the AFC Championship this year. According to Sports Illustrated's player rankings, new coach Norv Turner has the No. 1 running back in the game (Tomlinson), the No. 2 linebacker (Merriman), the No. 1 tight end (Antonio Gates), the No. 2 defensive tackle (Jamal Williams), the No. 3 offensive tackle (Marcus McNeill) and the No. 5 offensive guard (Kris Dielman).

that's right, the chargers have some awesome players. so on an unrelated note, if they don't reach the AFC championship, there's no way they can blame marty schottenheimer. because he's not coaching the team anymore. (hint, gene: you just named the guy who is san diego's head coach/blame taker in that very paragraph! get back to me if you want to change that first sentence.)

-Week 1 Mini-upset Special: Baltimore over Cincy at Cincy (ESPN, Monday, 7 p.m. ET).

close but no cigar. although that offensive PI call on todd heap during the potential game tying touchdown was pretty atrocious.

-Of the six new head coaches in the league, Arizona's Ken Whisenhunt will have the most impact on his team's record.

not saying this is wrong. but it can be measured... how?

-Philly's no-name WRs Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown will surprise you with their production.

surprise me how? by being even worse than i expect? by being significantly better? by also playing defense and each recording double digit sacks? what if their mothers are reading this- would mrs. curtis and mrs. brown truly be surprised if their sons went off and had pro bowl caliber seasons? ok, i need to stop with the rhetorical questions, i'm getting a little simmonsish here. (ps- are you as excited as i am to read about the celtics twice a month all winter/spring? i'd say their upcoming season rates as an 8 on the potentially-exciting-but-also-potentially-stomach-punchish-while-still-being-unintentionally-hilarious scale.)

-He isn't Randy Moss (the guy Favre desperately wanted the Packers to sign during the offseason), but rookie WR James Jones of San Jose State will become one of No. 4's favorites.

considering there are usually only about 5 WRs and 1 pass catching TE on a team, i sure hope jones becomes "one of" favre's favorites. if he doesn't, there's probably a serious chemistry issue there.

-I'll do better than the 53 percent I got right last year.

great conclusion. and by my count, you're already almost half way to being wrong about that! keep up the good work, gene.


pnoles said...

Larry, you just made my day with the Gene Shalit ref.

Sorry all for my lack of postage recently.....I traveled to Pennsylvania over the weekend and have been swamped yesterday/today......but tomorrow, life is good again.

pnoles said...

Since it's marginally relevant, here's Family Guy's take on Gene Shalit.


Chris W said...

Couple of things...

a.) Baltimore was giving points last night. They're the "underdog" the same was Boise State over Oklahoma (+6) was a MAJOR UPSET...only less so because BALTIMORE WAS GIVING POINTS!


b.) it's a good thing you didn't mention your buddy maurice "mo" stovall...because YOU DON'T KNOW HEEM

Chris W said...

correction: Oklahomas was MINUS 6 iirc


dan-bob said...

lollercoaster at college reference!

Aaron said...

Fucking hilarious. Especially the line about one of his jokes being beneath Carson Daly's level.

Krug said...

Oops, Larry:

-The AFC wild-card teams will be the Bengals and Jaguars.

-Last AFC team eliminated from playoff mix: Broncos.

official declaration: i (larry b) will personally eat 1 (one) hat (of my own choosing, options may include but are not limited to: baseball hats, ski hats, top hats, cowboy hats, oversized foam cowboy hats) if the jacksonville jaguars make the 2007 national football league playoffs and the denver broncos do not. i'm biased because i'm a broncos fan, but seriously: that's. not. happening. especially the denver part.

larry b said...

Fuck, Krug's right, I have to eat a hat.