Yesterday, we previewed the AFC. The fun continues today as we break down the AFC’s whiney, awkward little brother, the NFC:
IMPORTANT BUSINESS MEN IN UNIMPORTANT COMPANIES
These saps probably aren’t as bad as we make them out to be, but they’re certainly not as good as they’d prefer. Despite the fact that bigger, better-run businesses exist out there, these guys power walk through the streets in their expensive suits, shouting into their cell phones and making strong hand gestures. Sure, they have the potential to make it to the top. But they’re not there yet and there’s a decent chance they won’t make it at all.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Carried by new quarterback Drew Brees and the collective public support of anybody with a soul, the Saints came out of nowhere to make an NFC Championship appearance. The offence is still loaded to the brim, but free agency and the draft didn’t do enough to address a defence leakier than a New Orleans levy.
Fast fact: Last year, Reggie Bush led the NFL in slamming on the breaks once hitting a hole and waiting for a defence to swarm him.
Player most likely to get jiggy wit it: Will Smith, defensive end
Even if they fail: they could have been killed by a hurricane.
Fan quote: “The New Orleans Saints are truly an inspiration to us all. Please stop making Hurricane Katrina jokes. You guys are assholes.” -- Jarvis, 29
Like the Saints, the NFC’s Super Bowl representatives, changed little in the offseason. The Bears have a mean defence and solid running game, but their Super Bowl hopes largely rest on the shoulders of Rex Grossman, who is more up and down than a bi-polar chick on her period. If Rex can get his shit together, the Bears should not only be among the NFC’s elite, but the entire league’s.
Fast fact: Third-round running back Garrett Wolfe, who is 5’8” and weighs 186lbs, is actually a really muscular girl.
Player most likely to make some old dude’s bladder explode because you can’t go to the bathroom during special teams anymore: Devin Hester
Even if they fail: The NFC is crap, so they’re still making the playoffs.
Fan quote: “Rex Grossman gives me heartburn” (stuffs entire sausage in mouth) -- Jack, 44
From the guy who plays a guitar next to his tattered dog, to the long-haired dude with the amp who stands outside the arena before the Bon Jovi concert, to the one-eyed man who plays the bongo drums, street musicians come in all forms. Usually they suck but, every once in a while, a diamond in the rough emerges – an up-and-comer who plays a mean sax, crushes wideouts over the middle and dates Carrie Underwood.
Usually we love to hate ’em, but now we’re hating ourselves for starting to love them. Playmakers like Roy Williams and DeMarcus Ware make their defence sexy, and the offence could keep improving with Terrell Owens and Tony Romo playing a full season together. Plus, we can always count on T.O. to raid the medicine cabinet if things get ugly.
Fast fact: Fans who have all their teeth or can spell “cowboy” get 10 per cent off tickets.
Player most likely to be in the passenger seat the next time Lindsay Lohan crashes her car: Tony Romo, quarterback
Even if they fail: they can let their insane owner entertain them.
Fan quote: “Yeeeeah! Go Cowboys! America’s team, baby. God’s team! Hey – HEY! JARED! I DIDN’T TELL YOU TO STOP. WARM THAT FUCKIN’ ARM UP, BOY. THROW THAT PIGSKIN YOU LITTLE SUM BITCH. That’s my boy. Daddy loves you.” (draws pistols, fires them wildly in the air) -- Clay, 39
THE OLD MAN IN THE PARK
Wise, skilled, and stronger than he looks, the old man in the park is admittedly a little musty but shouldn’t be underestimated. Still, he’s one misstep away from stumbling onto the Reaper’s scythe.
The Eagles certainly have talent -- Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Javon Kearse, Brian Dawkins -- but they're getting long in the tooth. Over the past few seasons, the injury bug has eaten this team up like a depressed, single dad on a box of Ring Dings at four in the morning. If they can keep everyone healthy, the Eagles are as good as anybody in the NFC.
Fast fact: L.J. Smith’s initials stand for “Lemon Jujubes”
Player most likely to cause a mutiny against the coaching staff: Jeremiah Trotter, the run-stuffing linebacker who was mysteriously cut this week, much to the chagrin of his teammates.
Even if they fail: Philadelphians are bound to be miserable pricks anyway, so why worry?
Fan quote: “The Sixers suck. The Flyers suck. The Phillies suck. Everyone sucks. Just one Super Bowl. It’s all I ask.” -- Joe, 64
We don’t deny their trashiness. Anyone who stands outside Heinz Field wearing a 1989 Boston Bruins Wales Conference Champions hat and a ketchup-stained T-shirt with a cartoon race car on it ain’t someone you bring home to Mom. But scalpers, like Mike Holmgren, can be quietly productive despite their filthy appearance.
ST. LOUIS RAMS
The greatest show on Spike TV is When Good Pets Go Bad 2. The greatest show on turf is led by Steven Jackson and Marc Bulger. Yes, the high-scoring Rams offence could be back and lead the team to a playoff birth. Is their defence Joey bad? Frank Stallone bad? No comment.
Fast fact: Fans can be ejected from the Edward Jones Dome for mentioning Tony Banks' name.
Player most likely to have low-budget Jon Favreau comedy made about his career: Gus Frerotte, quarterback
Even if they fail: their offence will tickle fantasy football players pink.
Fan quote: “Scoobity bop-bop-bop….yeah…these Rams can kick it, baby….bop bop ba doobity bop-bop BOP!” – Earl, 62
Give Seattle a mulligan. With the Madden curse attacking Shaun Alexander’s foot and Matt Hasselbeck missing time too, the Seahawks never found their groove. Now they can hit their stride and…win one extra game and squeak into the playoffs if they’re really lucky.
Fast fact: Shaun Alexander allegedly asked EA Sports to place him on the Madden ’07 cover, hoping he could “earn more street cred” by playing through an injury.
Player most likely to murder Matt Hasselbeck: Tim Hasselbeck
Even if they fail: they can tune in Tuesday nights on NBC to watch Frasier and Niles get into caper after caper in Seattle. Oh, wait…
Fan quote: “I…what? Are you kidding me? How dare you. How DARE you! I could never talk about a barbaric game like football at a time like this. Leave me alone. I’m trying to finish writing this song. It’s called ‘Black Heaven.’” – Taylor, 24
GUYS WHO SIT ON THE CURB AND DRAW PORTRAITS OF PEOPLE
They have some talent, but if they’re so good, why are they wasting their time on the street instead of an art gallery?
GREEN BAY PACKERS
General manager Ted Thompson is rebuilding the Packers through the draft. The team showed promise last year by winning its last four games en route to an 8-8 record and, to be honest, the defence looks well on its way to being more than respectable (plus, in the NFC North, anything is possible). What’s the holdup? Soon-to-be all-time NFL interception king Brett Favre is clogging the youth movement like gravy in a fat man’s right ventricle.
Fast fact: Brett Favre is legally blind.
Player most likely to get outrun by an overweight housemom who just popped out kid No. 4: Bubba Franks.
Even if they fail: who could get tired of commentators making excuse after excuse for Favre like he’s a cute widdle puppy who doesn’t know any better?
Fan quote: “I don’t mind that Mr. Thompson is taking things slow -- we’re getting better every year. HEY JERRY -- you want this last brat? I’m just gonna have this block of cheese instead.” -- Burt, 52
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Thanks to a busy offseason, the Niners are well on their way to becoming contenders again. San Fran threw big dollars at cornerback Nate Clements (though, considering he was in Buffalo, a 1989 Toyota Camry and two sacks of potatoes probably would have gotten the deal done) and the team added a few other players through free agency and the draft. The offense is in good shape with Frank Gore becoming a Top-5 back and Alex Smith looking poised to break out. Give them a year or two and this team could be more dangerous than trying to sleep with your girlfriend’s sister. Again.
Fast fact: New receiver Ashley Lelie doesn’t like going over the middle because she just got her nails done.
Player most likely to be injured by Alex Smith trying to draw the defence offside: Darrell Jackson, wide receiver. You’re a little brittle, D-Jack. Let’s work on that.
Even if they fail: Head coach Mike Nolan will look good doing it .
Fan quote: “Thank God for Mike Nolan. Let us never speak of the Dennis Erickson era again.” -- William, 36
MIMES – Stop it. We said stop it! Get out of that invisible box before we punch you in the teeth. Man, do we hate mimes. What are they doing with their lives? They’re stuck in neutral, relying on barely honed skills they learned in theatre class in college. The worst is when they pretend to force a throw to an invisible Plaxico Burress for their third imaginary interception of the day. Hey, mimes? Hey, Eli Manning? Hey, Jake Delhomme? Go away. Everyone knows you have no talent.
...Ugh. Writing about the Panthers is like pulling teeth. They’re just so…blah. Their defence is good and Steve Smith is cool, but beyond that…Jake Delhomme? Yawn. We’ll stick to tiddlywinks with grandma at the retirement home. At least they have pudding and that one old bag who looks like Sofia Loren. Mmmmm…
Fast fact: Keary Colbert played in an ultimate Frisbee league during the spring. He was third on the depth chart at wide receiver.
Player most likely to sell you insurance over the phone in the year 2012: Jake Delhomme, quarterback.
Even if they fail: No one will know. Any team in the South Division will be overshadowed by the Vick Chronicles.
Fan quote: “Me? Oh yeah, big panthers fan. Never miss a game. What? You want me to name a player? Uh, haha…yeah. Um, I have to go. Don’t want to miss my tee-off time.” – Andy, 45
NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants are hideous. Hideous uniforms, hideous tight end, hideous quarterback, hideous landscape, hideous everything. Now we can’t even watch Tiki Barber dance anymore. We’re left with Eli Manning bombs into double coverage not unlike those Larkin’s dad throws on every passing down in Madden. Woo. Hoo.
Fast fact: Tight end Jeremy Shockey has never owned or worn a pair of underwear in his life.
Player most likely to be moved to defensive tackle: Brandon Jacobs, “running back.”
Even if they fail: Plenty of people will be happy, including us. Please fail, Giants. We want to see Eli’s droopy, disappointed, I-just-threw-another-pick expression as often as possible.
Fan quote: “How ya doin. The Giants? Don’t bet on them today, pal. Manning goes down in the third quarter. Trust me. Fuggadeaboutit.” – Tony, 39
These ladies are flashy and sexy; turn off the lights and she might not look too bad at all. Hell, maybe she’ll surprise you -- maybe she’s a high-end call girl, maybe this is her first time flirting with the whole sex-for-money thing. Maybe -- just maybe -- there could even be a storybook ending; you’ll get together and she’ll stop slapping pelvis for 20 bucks an hour and you can start a family together, even make it to the playoffs.
Dude? She’s a whore. Stay away, because you’ll be lucky if antibiotics can solve the stuff she’s got festering in her end zone.
Matt Leinart wound up in the prostitute section? Weird. Anyway, things are looking up for the Cardinals, especially with new head coach Ken Whisenhunt in place. For the past few years, the Cards’ offensive talent has sucked people into believing they were ready to bust out. We’ll believe it when we see it. Besides, who knows how quickly the team will progress when Leinart is more concerned with getting balls into Scarlett Johansson’s mouth than his receivers’ hands.
Fast fact: Even if the Cards manage to put up some points this year, they still have to play that pesky thing called “defence.”
Player you haven’t heard of because Arizona sucks but should follow anyway: Adrian Wilson, safety. He doesn’t get the publicity of Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu, but Wilson can sack the QB, pick off passes, and crack skulls like overzealous police officer.
Even if they fail: We hear golf is great in Arizona.
Fan quote: “Well… we have that expensive new stadium. When San Fran is pounding us by 30 points, we’ll at least be comfortable.” -- Kevin, 28
People seem a little too excited for the Lions. Sexy offence? Really? Jon Kitna? Tatum Bell? Offensive mastermind Mike Martz is in town, of course, and has plenty of weapons to choose from between receivers Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson and Mike Furrey. But it was Marshall Faulk who made those high-flying Rams teams go. Think Martz can turn Bell or Kevin Jones into a similar weapon? Just try to keep your erection under control and remember Marshall Faulk was Marshall Faulk before he got to St. Louis.
Fast fact: During his first three years as general manager, Matt Millen thought he was running a hockey team.
Player most likely to eat his way out of the league: Shaun Rogers, defensive tackle. Rogers was an up and coming star in the middle of the Lions defence. Detroit rewarded him with a huge contract, which Rogers promptly spent on a dump truck full of sloppy joes.
Even if they fail: it’ll be fun looking for a scapegoat to replace Joey Harrington.
Fan quote: “If there is a god, Calvin Johnson becomes the exact opposite of Charles Rogers. And Mike Williams.” -- Earl, 44
“THE END IS NIGH” GUY – A.K.A SANDWICH BOARD GUY – A.K.A. THE POLITICAL HOBO
They’re not quite as filthy as the gibberish talking hobo, and they may not even ask you for money. The truth is, they’re delusional. They actually think they have something to offer society, that their opinion matters. Hell, some of them even try to run for mayor. Fellas, put away the big sandwich board sign. Take a shower and get a real job.
This year’ll be longer than Ron Jeremy’s dick in Hotlanta. Sorry if this article seems rushed – I have to type fast because Larkin’s starting at quarterback for the Falcons now and I have to drive him to the airport. Don’t draft him on fantasy teams unless you like negative points. Hey, at least their running game should be good. Might win them a few games.
Fast fact: Running back Warrick Dunn suffers from entymolototosis (“insect face”), a rare condition that swells the eyes and sinus cavity.
Player who’s supposed to be “thunder” to Warrick Dunn’s “lightning” but is really just more “lightning”: Jerious Norwood, running back
Even if they fail: they’ll know things can’t possibly get any worse. Well, as long as no one discovers Alge Crumpler’s komodo dragon fighting ring.
Fan quote: “VICK IS SICK! VICK IS SICK! VICK IS SICK!” – Eileen, 41
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
One Super Bowl title goes a long way, apparently. Jon Gruden still has a job and Bucs seem to get away with being total shit. This should finally be a make-or-break year for T-Bay. Jeff Garcia to the rescue! Gross.
Fast fact: Wideout Michael Clayton and quarterback Chris Simms are known to host “cry parties,” in which they sit nude by a fire holding hands and bawl their eyes out in an attempt to purge their personal anguish.
Player most likely to have been a close friend of Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit in the past: David Boston, wide receiver
Even if they fail: nothing will change. Keep getting drunk in the pirate ship, Tampa fans.
Fan quote: “We are the Bucs! YARRGH! Cap’n’ Jack Sparrow! ARRGGGH! We – Owwwww. Mom, Derek poked me! He poked me with the sword! Owwwww.” – Kyle, 13
Traditionally, they’re the NFL’s perpetual underachievers. They blow big cash in the off-season on free agents and everyone ejaculates over their potential only to see them fail. Now, the hype is gone. Now we know they’re just flat out garbage. The receiving corps may or may not feature Verne Troyer.
Fast fact: The character “Mr. Glass” played by Samuel L. Jackson in M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable was based on Santana Moss.
Player who was presumed dead years ago but has miraculously resurfaced: James Thrash, wide receiver.
Even if they fail: They can turn to Hilary to bring new hope.
Fan quote: “I think the Redskins will have a great running back tandem with Portis and Betts and – oh, sorry. I have to take this call. I really have to take this. Hello?’ – Richard, 35
The Moss and Culpepper days seem like an eternity ago. Does Minnesota have something to cheer for? Sure – Adrian Peterson should be fun to watch and their run “D” is amazing. But you could probably have a good time in a cockroach-infested bowling alley once in a while too, and that wouldn’t change the fact that the bowling alley is disgusting and run by a guy named “Spider.”
Fast fact: viewing the Vikings’ wide receiver depth chart is known to cause seizures.
Player most likely to become the spokesman for Butterfinger: Troy Williamson, wide receiver
Even if they fail: they’ll still be shitfaced, shirtless and insane any time they host an NFC North team. Well, not the Lions.
Fan quote: “Oh yah, I love my Vikes. Me and Ruth never miss a Sunday at the Dome. This could be our year, I tell ya. No one’s runnin’ against us. The Peterson kid looks sharper than my new snow blower, yah. Care for some chili, friend?” – Bob, 51