The Hurley Page

 

The Rantings of Howlin' Mike Hurley 

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Braintree, MA

Of all the things we’ve lost in 2008 - jobs, Steve Fossett and, if you were one of Bernie Madoff’s clients, billions of dollars - one absence has cut Gen Xers to the quick.

Zima, the mysterious malted beverage of our youth, was returned for its final deposit this year. It was 15 years old.

Not since the passing of the McDonald’s McRib have we experienced such anguish.

Oh, Zima, how we loved your Sprite-like lemon/lime bouquet. You were there for us when we grew out of Bartle & Jaymes fruity wine coolers, yet weren’t quite ready to swill amber pints of Sam Adams. Keystone Light couldn’t possibly fill us the way you did.

Never has a clear liquid meant so much. You were our buzz at the beach, our pre-party cocktail, the go-to mixer of our youth.

But like our 20s, the malt that launched a thousand morning-after “migraines” has been discontinued. Miller Coors LLC filled its last orders this month. And then those crazy kids at Coors turned around and killed Sparks and Sparks Light - an orangey-caffeinated “alcohol refresher” that replaced Zima in the hearts and livers of today’s 20-somethings, leaving two generations without a sugary, sweet and slightly embarrassing way to get their drink on.

Why the drama over a D-list libation? Because ghastly alco-pops are a rite of passage, and cringing at the memories part of the nostalgia.

Remember bringing a Zima to a kegger only to be ridiculed by Bud-swilling boys? Standing next to a group of girls with sky-high hair, Guess jeans and oversized plaid shirts swilling the clear “cocktail” while listening to Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There it is)”? Getting busted by buddies after they found a six-pack in your fridge? Dropping Jolly Ranchers in the mix to ramp up the taste?

Now, those are memories.

And it all started with Zima, a fun, frivilous “malternative” beverage. Test-marketed in 1992 and nationally launched in 1993, Zima was like “Saturday Night Live’s” “Pat” - you didn’t really know what it was. Beer? Wine? Hard alcohol?

But the mystery was part of the charm. By 1994, Coors sold 1.2 million barrels of “the other white beer,” according to Brandweek Magazine.

It didn’t last. No wonder. Gen Xers have been a pretty grumpy bunch since we’ve grown up.

If it’s any solace, Zima is in good company, as far as the pop culture deaths of 2008 go. This year, Polaroid’s instant film got the heave-ho, mostly because in the digital age, flapping a piece of paper to speed along the development process is like IM-ing with slate and chisel. So much for “Hey, Yeah.” One of the first American Girls, 22-year-old Samantha and her sidekick Nellie went to the old dollhouse in the sky. And say a parting prayer for the most-mocked mode of transportation ever - the Yugo.

Wall Street’s taken a big hit this year, and our 401(k)s are still reeling from the fallout - big, real issues that make us nostalgic for simpler, simpler-minded times.

But like Zima, the fizz is gone.

 

Wednesday, October 22nd 

Braintree, MA

A few thoughts in the aftermath:

The Red Sox did not blow this series, in a lot of ways the series was decided with the 2 bowsers they laid in games 3&4 at Fenway, but the reality is that the Rays took every punch the Sox threw at them the last 6+ months and responded with aplomb each time. Who was feeling sicker Sunday night: Red Sox Nation or Hankenstein and the suits at Al- Yankzeera? I'll guess its the latter of the two. The Yankees saw the proverbial tea leaves right in front of their eyes the other night and the realization that they're chasing 2 long-term legit keepers (unlike the past). This will cause mayhem of epic proportions in the Bronx. And again, a tip of the hat to Joe Maddon. He is the Frank Lloyd Wright of this era.

Was FEMA handling the production of TBS' coverage on Saturday Night? Worse was being subjected to the Steve Harvey Show. I could have lived with Sinbad or stories on Joe " the plumber" during that comedy of errors.

I think a missing persons report was just filed for Sean Casey. What was Tito thinking? Kotsay drove in as many runs in scoring position as you and I did. Zilch!!!

Laurence Maroney is the Terry Glenn of running backs. That just may have been an insult to her.

How long till the Dallas Cowboys ask for a bailout? How long till Coach Jones takes the sideline? Dallas: the Wachovia of the NFL.

That broken glass against the wall you just heard is from the executives at FOX with regards to the matchup of Rays/ Phillies. But truth be told, last year's Sox/ Rockies was the second lowest rated ever. So who knows who's right. It will only be good for TV if it goes at least 6.

News Alert: Matt Garza out-pitched Cy Lester, Twice!!

Will Matt "Unitas" Cassel ending up being sacked more than Toni Eason?

The Eric Mangini error must end now. You know what JETS stand for? Just End The Season.

How long till "Yellin" Kellen Winslow Jr. goes Vince Young on the Browns?

Is Wade Phillips a Senior Adviser on the McCain campaign? It sure seems that way. Not even Curt Schilling can turn the Maverick around this time. It's time to say it's Obama's world and hopefully he'll take John Kerry and the not-so-esteemed MA governor with him in January. You can only hope!!!

13 Days till.......

Rays in 7. I just pulled a John Kerry. Speaking of Lurch, based off his joke telling of the past week or so, its safe to say the friars club won't be calling anytime soon. Keep your day job, whatever that is.

Penn St (aka Devlin U) goes down in Columbus this weekend. Same for the Nick-tator and his Crimson Tide in Knoxville. You heard it here first.

Eli vs. Big Ben Sunday. Appointment viewing!!!

Who's more unlikable Keith Olbermann or Plaxico Burr-ass?

115 days till Pitchers and Catchers report...

Obama's got this election in the bag, you heard it here last.

Any idea on the Bruins magic number for a playoff spot?

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Tuesday, October 14th 

Braintree, MA

Rumblings, grumblings and stumblings of the last few days:

If you were awake Sunday morning @ 1:42 am, did you think you were having a bad dream or was that really Mike Timlin pitching the bottom of the 11th? my advice would be to save the lifetime achievement award until the Baseball Writers dinner in January.

The biggest shocker of the week has to be Pac-Man, excuse me, Adam Jones' brush with his security guard at a Dallas Hotel? was he mad that he couldn't make it rain at Sheraton? Where was "Father Flanagan" Irvin during all this? at the white house or a suburban Dallas performing arts center?

Is that the Kevin O'Connell drumbeat I just heard? the only thing lamer than that performance in San Diego the other night, is the McCain campaign or lack thereof?

Do you think Bill Belichick now would like Roger Goodell to give the Pats a Bear Stearns type bailout? Is there anyone who won't get a bailout if they desire?

To a certain critic in the Midwest, I'm just saying its good that a small market team ( Rays) did it better than that Wal-Mart flunkie/ tightwad David Glass, who owns the Royals? The rest of the country, I believe is fatigued with both the Yankees and Red Sox on every week on Fox, ESPN. etc.

Other Family, friends and a small alumni group, does anyone even know that Boston College are the defending Div 1 Hockey Champs? proving that Boston, unfortunately is not a college sports hot bed. one other point, it is just me or does B.C feel it went into a shotgun marriage with the ACC? its like William Hung dating Jessica Alba. it just doesn't feel right.

21 days till......well you know. don't blame me, I was for Hillary!!!! the obama-kins out there will have buyer's remorse come 2010.

Hey, John McCain's campaign couldn't inspire a thirsty man to a glass of water either!!

What was Sarah Palin thinking the other night? going out to face a throng of philly fans after the events of the last week, is like me wanting to take the Fung-Wah bus to NYC.

When did Tinseltown become the Political Science capital of the world?

2 words: Evan Almighty!!!

Who would have thought that Marcia Brady was so wild? It must truly sadden Ann B. Davis.

The Phillies are the most resilient team in MLB. and the likely 2008 world champs. this coming from a Mets fan???

Isn't it funny that barely anyone has mentioned the price of gas coming down ever so sharply? was there anything else going on last week?

Get the feeling George W. Bush has his suitcase packed and his pocket calendar with every passing day being crossed off in crayon? Crawford, Texas never looked so good.

Will someone step up and be the best team in the NFL? each week, it seems like a new flavor of the week. this season reminds me of the Republican primaries, all these fatally flawed candidates or teams basically waiting for a injury / T.O style meltdown. don't bet against the latter!!

How great was the Joe Biden imitation on SNL? not quite Jon Lovitz a la Michael Dukakis, but very close. Darrell Hammond's McCain is pretty darn good as well. But once the election is over, Lorne Michaels might be the next to ask for a bailout.

Do you think Fox is cringing at a World Series without the Red Sox?

Kudos to Tim McCarver for putting the verbal anvil to Manny. For McCarver's sake, I hope Manny doesn't channel his inner Deion Sanders on him!!

Just remember: 21 days till?

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Tuesday, October 7th 

Braintree, MA

Here is the straight dope on Red Sox/ Rays showdown. It may sound communist, but it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if the Rays win this series. They've already made inroads by outlasting the Sox/Yankees with substantial payroll, and in some instances talent differences. But in the real world, I say Sox in 6, but maybe the Rays will be the 2008 Hoosiers after all.

let's run down the so called advantage grid that every aspiring scribe is so wont to do. Hopefully it will be MADDON-ing.

1B- Rays: only because of the Lowell injury

2B- Red Sox: Pedroia is great, but Iwawmura is no slouch.

SS- Even: Bartlett is their glue, while Lowrie is a potential keeper? Julio Who go?

3B- Rays: Evan Almighty!!!!

LF- Red Sox- only because Crawford's not 100%

CF- Rays: only so slightly over the sox duo of Coco Ellsbury

RF- Red Sox: even J.D Drew gets the nod over a platoon situation.

C- Even: both are among the best game callers around.

Bench- Rays: the best in the game, look it up!!!

Pitching: Red Sox: experience, experience

Manager: Red Sox: only in Florida could a vote be this close!!! it would be like 50.1% to 49.9% according to my tote board.

Sox in 6, but will lose to the Phillies in the World Series.

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Monday, October 6th 

Braintree, MA

I write this post today, with conflict, humor and a dose of straight talk ( no that is not an endorsement for John McCain). Where to start, but moreover where to finish, so here goes.

Can I get Congress to bail me out of my credit card debt or any other accumulated debt?

Have you seen a more immature group of adults than congress? It's turned into the Crips ( Republicans) and the Bloods (Democrats), with N-PEL as the gang leader of this comedy of errors.

The John McCain " fundamentals of the economy" statement may go down as the Mike Dukakis tank moment of the 2008 election. This election is very close to being sayonara as the days dwindle down.

What does it tell you when a Vice Presidential Debate gets better ratings than that of the top of the ticket? Do people go to see Donald Trump's or Bill Gates' second in command? Sorry Bill Rancic or whomever at Microsoft. It would be like more people going to see Art Garfunkel concert than Paul Simon.

It looks like the Redskins are for real. Team Snyder is looming as a potential dark horse.

Do think last night notwithstanding the Red Sox are in the Angels heads?

How do you think Hankenstein's feeling this morning? Go Dodgers!!!! and a shout out to Joe Torre!!!

Who's this Ramirez guy hustling everywhere I see? You would think there was a contract at stake.

Derek Lowe would sure look good in a Met uniform next year.

Has there ever been a quieter defending Super Bowl Champion? Plaxico who?

Matt Ryan looks like the real deal. If I were a Falcons fan, I would put my number 7 throwback jersey on e bay.

Jason Bay is better than I thought, and it would behoove the Red Sox to lock him up long-term. NOW.

I have a question for all of you. What newspapers do you read?

Has anyone seen Vince Young? Any truth to the rumor that there was an amber alert in Nashville?

Did anyone else find it ironic 13 years to the day of the 1st O.J verdict that he finally got the proverbial boomerang? The only people sad are the golf course managers in South Florida. It's a shame he never gave the public an update on the status of the suspects at large, but, you know what they say "not enough time, too many golf courses".

Did Al Davis prove me right or what? Uncle Junior Davis brought back the use of the overhead projector to lambaste "Wrong" Lane Kiffin ,in what was tantamount to a public flogging. Something tells me Lane shouldn't be waiting by the mailbox for his severance pay.

This just in, the market went down another triple digits while I wrote this column. Do you think I if write a bad column/entry etc, government will help me?

And last but not least, any fan who uses thunder stix at a sporting event or elsewhere should be sentenced to a month of watching The View. 10 minutes of watching America's breakfast table would be the greatest deterrent is using these god awful, yahoo prone items. Next to be abolished should be the rally monkey.

Go VANDY!!!!

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Thursday, September 25th

Braintree, MA

Gathered some random thoughts while catching up on the riveting CW's 90210 : The later years!!!

1. This just in, Brett Favre is reckless and a bad fit for the Jets. Which NY QB would you rather have?? Just don't ask Chris Berman.

2. The Red Sox, if you can buy it, are flying under the radar come October. Beware Sons of Scioscia!!

3. This just in: The U.S markets and the economy are in turmoil. Next thing you know Clay Aiken is laying a big shocker of a story out there. Talk about the horses being long out of the barn!

4. Think the Pats would like to have Pennington now? But the cause for concern is the matador defense they played last week!! ole!!

5. I hate to say it, but the Cowboys look like the best team in the NFL now, but as I've said before "where there's a Will, there's a Wade", Phillips that is.

6. If the Mets fail to make the playoffs this season, how much overtime will psychologists in the Tri-State area accrue during the hot stove season?

7. Is it me or were the Emmy's as funny as the Bill Engvall show?

8. Whether you are a Rays fan or not, people don't realize how incredible this season will truly rank in history when its all said and done. Hats off to Joe Maddon.

9. 40 days till the "geyser vs the crowd pleaser" thriller, a.k.a the election.

10. Keith Olbermann is this century's equivalent to Douglas C. Neidermeyer.

11. Nice to see Matt Millen get the gate yesterday. I think it's safe to say he wasn't Penske material. But the bigger thought here is, the Lions owned by Bill Ford,(yes the same Ford that makes automobiles), tells you all you need to know about the state of Ford Motors and the Detroit Lions. Safe to say I wouldn't ask Bill to be my designated driver.

12. How funny is it, all of sudden the power is in the NFC and the AFC is the tossup conference? Even if Brady wasn't out for the season, with the other contenders off to slow starts, it just shows you how things in this league change on a dime.

13. If you're a Pats fan, do you get the feeling Hurricane Randy is headed toward Field Turf?

14. What happened to the Cleveland Browns? They are the Fred Thompson of the NFL season so far.

15. The Chicago Cub fan base is by far the most annoying, insufferable, self- absorbed group of fans in all of sports.

16. Hats off to Paul Azinger. The Zinger's masterful handling of the Ryder Cup last weekend was a thing of beauty, and a huge source of pride in bringing the Cup back to the mainland for the first time since Brookline.

17. Do you get the feeling Al Davis is trying to drive Lane Kiffin to Bellevue? By holding the proverbial Sword of Damocles over his head, week after week by hoping that Lane will say "take this job and shove it", and therefore being off the hook for the tab due to poor Lane. Al Davis is now officially the Uncle Junior of the NFL.

18. Back to the Emmy's, I would have rather been sentenced to a Jamie Kennedy film festival than flashback to the travesty. And you now wonder why reality shows are all the rage, and the creative or new material is at all time low. I would liken it to Victor Kiam owning that Pats. razor sharp!!!

19. The MNF/Tony Kornheiser experiment must end. It makes me yearn for Joe Namath to be back on the set.

20. I made a mistake in an earlier column, I said the NFC West was the John Kerry Division, the true John Kerry Division is the ACC in football. does anyone want this? who would have thought the Florida reps in the ACC are dying on the vine, and Wake Forest is the USC of this league? Next someone's gonna tell me Amy Winehouse in on the straight and narrow.

21.Boo Weekley is a Ryder Cup Hero, not a Jets fan publication.

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Wednesday, September 17th

Braintree, MA

I was wrong! It is rare you'll hear that phrase being uttered by this humble writer. I am giving this rare mea culpa in regards to KING, COACH, CAPO DE TUTTI, SIR, Mr. Bill Bill Belichick. You have earned my admiration for winning Sunday at the Meadowlands with Matt ( Unitas) Cassel, and you did it with a game plan that made Sarah Palin look ultra-left. Is there anything you can't do? The next question is where to put the statue of your Billness, (Wrentham Common, Foxboro Green, you get the idea), but honestly if he can keep this up, I truly will lay off this Profile in Courage ( re: his gracious exit from the NYJ).

That being said, you can toss out those silly AFC pre-season predictions as a mulligan, so here I am armed with a verbal equivalent of a Titanium Driver!!! FORE!!!!

AFC EAST
New England - I said what had to be said above, but one more note: Matt Cassel is a lot closer to Damon Huard than Babe Laufenberg.

New York Jets - This Jets/ Favre marriage is the worst shotgun marriage since Michael Jordan with the Wizards.

Buffalo - This team is a lot better than I thought, look out Sons of Belichick!

Miami - Poor Chad Pennington, you think the Vikings would like a mulligan given their QB situation?

AFC NORTH
Pittsburgh - Great regular season, time will tell. Looks to have the easiest course of the 4 divisions.

Cleveland - If I said the Bengals were the Bear Stearns of the NFL, what does that make the Browns? Merrill Lynch, AIG, Gary Coleman?

Cincinnati - This is one of the few predictions I nailed!!! I also went on a limb and predicted Hugo Chavez would be re-elected President of Venezuela.

Baltimore - Could be tricky to figure out, I'll get back to you on the 5th revision of the season.

AFC SOUTH
Indianapolis - Still getting healthy, probably the most likely team to come out of AFC provided Peyton doesn't get hurt.

Jacksonville - Already behind the 8-ball when you lose 2 home games, also David Garrard looks like he's morphed into Andre Ware.

Houston - Incomplete, reserve judgment due to Hurricane Ike. See Baltimore.

Tennessee - Where to start? How ironic is it that Kerry Collins is the role model in Nashville, while everyone short of Curt Schilling has an opinion on poor Vince. Jeff Fisher truly earns his pay year in and year out.

AFC WEST
Denver - While plans are still being formed in Foxboro for a Walt Coleman shrine, the same can be said for the city of Denver with regards to Ed "Pipes" Hochuli. That type of job action Sunday in any other walk of life would mean adios, but it is the NFL and short of treason or murder means he's safe. Maybe Jay Cutler can be the man after all.

San Diego - Don't bury them yet, but the Chargers were given the NFL equivalent of malpractice in Denver Sunday. Get James Sokolove on speed dial, because Arlen Specter is only a Pennsylvania Senator, therefore
the league and Roger Goodell can breathe easy.

Kansas City - Herm Edwards and whomever at QB?  Nuff said.

Oakland - Thank God Al Davis is not an Air Traffic Controller or Mafia Don, because only in Oaktown can you just about be walking the plank ala Lane Kiffin ready to be euthanized, fired, etc. Then go out and play a solid game and win, only to coach another week and travel 3,000 miles to Buffalo for the same exact potential fate. And you thought "Butchy" Doe had nine lives. If the Raiders win this week, Al may pull the trigger on himself. Welcome to Dysfunction Junction.

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Thursday, September 11th 

BURKE, Virginia (kmcworld) -- Kmcworld.com CEO KMC announced the second boldest move in the corporation's history today when revealing the identity of his new mystery sports and pop culture columnist at a press conference in Caribou Coffee in Burke, VA. "I am proud to present the newest writer in the kmcworld family. Would you give a warm Virginia welcome to Mr. Michael Hurley!!!" Hurley was not available in person due to a chronic aversion to travel outside of the northeastern United States, but joined the press conference via satellite feed. "Mr. Hurley provides you the readers of kmcworld with a wealth of sports information and a fresh reporting style. But I think you will also be surprised with his uncanny pop culture references and grasp of the current political climate. And boy is he prolific! He has already written more in two days than Mannix has in eight years as our celebrity gossip columnist", concluded McCarthy. Hurley then introduced himself, "Thank you KMC for giving me this forum to enlighten your readers. I look forward to injecting some straight talk into the American dialogue. And by the way, why aren't you at Dunkin Donuts for crying out loud? This is a sham - I can't stand that yuppie bong water they serve at that place - and all you jackasses line up to pay $4 a cup for it like its liquid crack. Give me a large iced coffee at DD any day over that %$#@!" The video feed was interrupted at that point amid angry shouting and general pandemonium. Thus began the Hurley era at kmcworld. 

{By the way - in case you're curious as to what the #1 boldest move in kmworld history was - in 2001 the website was briefly taken over by a group of radical extremist chimpanzees, The Simian Liberation Army. Nobody was hurt in the attack, but primate/human relations have remained strained at headquarters ever since. And no, it was not a publicity stunt to boost hits on the site.}    

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Wednesday, September 10th

Braintree, MA

Here are some random thoughts of the last week or so pertaining to MLB, NFL, Pop Culture, Politics, etc. The worst thing that happened last weekend was the abrupt end to Tom Brady's season, no one likes to see anyone go down to injury to possibly change the balance of power.

The next question begs, why is Patriot Nation acting like Nancy Kerrigan? It's not like Bernard Pollard pulled a Shawn Eckhardt using a night stick to ruin his career? Also, please stop with the Woe is me act, it is tiresome. After all, no matter what happens the Pats are still the Team of the Decade. So enough of the why me foolishness!

Is it just me, or will it be only a matter of time before Hank (thanks Dad) Steinbrenner goes postal sooner rather than later? The Yankees will spend big money this off season to recalibrate, but in all honesty it will be like putting perfume on a pig. I hope no one thinks I'm sexist towards Hankenstein!

When did Matt Damon become a political scientist?

I think its safe to say MENSA is going to revoke Shawne Merriman's membership! "lights out for lights out".

Is it time for the Tennessee Titans to hire Dr. Phil?

If you are a political junkie, there is no one better than NBC's Chuck Todd.

What would be a bigger upset? The Rays winning the division or McCain pulling off this election? Say what you want, but money doesn't always carry the day.

Is it just me or was the MTV VMAs an Obama infomercial?

I will give a reward if someone can tell me who that yahoo Russell Brand is. And if Russell had a brain he would sue his barber; excuse me, stylist..

This Presidential campaign will not only go down as the longest ever, but also the most oversensitive one. Grab the candidates and their surrogates a whole bushel of Kleenex. Yeeesh!

If there is a god, the US Senate will not have Al (I was never that funny) Franken as a member come 2009.

If George W. Bush's popularity raring is 28% (which is justifiable), then let me ask who are the 9%, yes 9%, who think Congress is doing a good job?

Dustin Pedroia is the AL MVP.

What was Gary Coleman doing in Salt Lake City and how many phone books does it take him to see over the steering wheel of his Ford F-150?

Think Ted Thompson is feeling a little safer today?

What has happened to Syracuse football? they ought to institute the slaughter rule with these guys. If were Greg Robinson, I would be perusing hot jobs.com right now. The Orange have become Temple North.

I got a feeling ... Mets/ Red Sox World Series. but don't take it to the bank.

And last but not least many thanks to my Editor in Chief, KMC, for giving me this forum to enlighten you. And feel free to send questions, comments, concerns to kmcworld@yahoo.com, and one of these columns will be dedicated to you, yes you, the reader.

And as Frank the Tank once said " keep on truckin"
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Monday, September 8th

Braintree, MA

NFL Predictions

AFC: The grind known as the NFL is back! Who better to diagnose the winners,  losers, et al ? As the esteemed Thornton Mellon once said, "I dedicate this building to me". Well, in all honesty that's how I feel about my NFL acumen. I am the Barack Obama of the pundit world, (Obama knows what ails and cures all, I do the same in NFL terms). So enough self-promotion and grandiosity, let's get on with it.

 AFC East
1. NEW ENGLAND- (12-4)  Clearly the best team in the division. Will the hangover/ disappointment hold this team back? ( God I hope so!). They have 17 weeks to work their weaknesses and their schedule is very favorable. Before this pre-season, I would have said anyone could pilot this juggernaut, until Matt ( No relation to Joseph Hazelwood?) Cassel. The last question I ask all you Pats sycophants .... does Matt Cassel have photos of Belichick or Bob Kraft doing something illicit?

2. NEW YORK JETS- (10-6) I know, know. you're going to think he's back with the Jets because of the Brett Favre buzz. No, I looked at their schedule and its relative ease. They made strides with free agency, but will have a few hiccups along the way, and Team Belichick won't. End of story!

3. BUFFALO BILLS- (7-9) This is the team that really should have made a play for Saint Brett. Not enough firepower to contend.

4. MIAMI DOLPHINS- (6-10) Anyone find it ironic that a tuna is the boss of a group of Dolphins? That being said, "Hanging Chad" Pennington will give this team guile, and they will make strides. Ricky will surprise or else their season will go up in smoke......

AFC North
1. PITTSBURGH STEELERS- (11-5) The more things change the more they stay the same.

2. CLEVELAND BROWNS-(9-7)  They really didn't correct their fatal flaw (the secondary). The other thing is they have a tougher schedule and will not sneak up on anyone. Outside looking in.

3. CINCINNATI BENGALS- (6-10) When you have someone on your team legally change their last name to a number that's all you need to know. Bad team chemistry - looks like the Bear Stearns of the NFL.

4. BALTIMORE RAVENS- ( 4-12) They will be the first team in history whose defense will outscore their offense. Look forward to 2010 if you're a Ravens fan.

AFC South
1.INDIANAPOLIS COLTS- (11-5) They will really earn it this year. The difference is Manning! Honestly, do you see Vince Young or David Garrard overtaking them with limited weapons at their disposal? I didn't think so.

2. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS- (10-6) Quickly becoming the Regis Philbin of the NFL - always good but never award-winning! I might reveal who the Kelly Ripa of the NFL is later depending.....

3. HOUSTON TEXANS- (8-8) One year away, will be a very good home team causing agita for division foes. My darkhorse for 2009!

4. TENNESSEE TITANS - (6-10) Vince Young is the Paris Hilton of the NFL. Video game covers, magazine covers, hype, etc. Isn't a QB supposed to throw with a semblance of accuracy? His lack of progress shows, and will be painfully obvious this year. I just hope good ole Vince doesn't own any dogs....

AFC West
1. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS- (12-4) They will conquer the John Kerry division! The key is Merriman. You could win this division with any QB not named Cassel.

2. DENVER BRONCOS- (7-9) Is it me or does it feel like Mike Shanahan is like Willy Mays with the Mets, ever since TD and Elway have departed the Mile High City?

3. OAKLAND RAIDERS - (6-10) The more things change, the more bizarre it gets here. If I were Monte Kiffin, I would hire a food taster. He's my early nominee for the Alex Litvinenko award for 2008. Al is as crazy as ever.

4. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS- (3-13)  Herm Edwards and Brodie Croyle. Nuff said.

The playoff teams are:

NEW ENGLAND
PITTSBURGH
INDIANAPOLIS
SAN DIEGO
NY JETS
JACKSONVILLE
 

And now for the NFC..

NFC: Here is the NFC preview, written in between watching episodes of the Michael Richards show on DVD.

NFC EAST
1. DALLAS COWBOYS- (11-5) The best team in the NFC from 1-53. But as most of the time as I am wont to do, I'm going to be a contrarian. Two words: WADE PHILLIPS. Honestly, Wade (thanks Bum) Phillips is the Baghdad Bob of NFL head coaches. How would you like to have an assistant, that's right, an assistant make as much coin as you? Jason Garrett to me is the de facto head coach and will be a spur in the side of poor Wade all season provided Wade doesn't get off to a shaky start (don't bet against it, this is the same coach who was at the helm of Denver- he leaves, they win 2 Bowls. Buffalo- at the helm there, he stewarded the biggest choke job since Mama Cass (Nashville miracle). Will T.O. stay sane and will Michael (Father Flanagan) Irvin be the right guy to monitor Adam Jones? We shall see, but for now they will be the favorites in this loaded division.

2. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES- (10-6)  Brian Westbrook is the best player nobody talks about in the NFL. Their defense is solid. The big question: Is McNabb's health enough to offset the lack of play makers elsewhere?

3.NEW YORK GIANTS- ( 9-7) the defending champs will be a tough out. Eli is getting better by the second! If he were a stock I'd say BUY, BUY, BUY! That being said, there will be a transition and a tough schedule down the stretch. But they will hang around enough to win at least 1 playoff game this year.

4.WASHINGTON REDSKINS- (7-9) I just get the feeling Joe Gibbs couldn't get as far away as possible from good ole' Danny Boy. The smart money says the Skins will stuck in neutral for years. (Basically, as long as King Danny has the keys to the kingdom). But in all seriousness, they are the 4th best team in the division.

NFC NORTH
1. MINNESOTA VIKINGS- (10-6) You've got to wonder how much higher I'd have then if they had a good or even serviceable QB. The best lines of scrimmage reside in the twin cities. But if you're a Vikings fan, just hope they don't overdose on "Yo Adrian" Peterson. Really should have got Pennington.

2.GREEN BAY PACKERS -(8-8) How many "If Brett was here we'd be 2008 NFC Champs" references will Chris Berman echo? Time will tell if it was a good move or not. If I were Ted Thompson, I'd hire Dog Chapman to be my security team around Lambeau.

3. DETROIT (6-10)  - If I railed on Matt Cassel, what do you think Matt Millen is going to get from this humble provider of information? I get the feeling Matt Millen has multiple smoking guns on the Ford family, either that or he's good at maintaining the Penske files.

4. CHICAGO BEARS- (5-11) Kyle Orton vs. Rex Grossman is easily the most compelling battle since Dustin Diamond vs. Ron Palillo on celebrity boxing earlier this decade. Get ready for a bring back Ditka petition!

NFC SOUTH
1.NEW ORLEANS SAINTS-(12-4) All the elements are here for a big time rebound. Brees is a good early favorite for MVP in my book. He's got as many weapons as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Seriously, Shockey will have a big year, and the put up or shut time has come for Mr. Kim Kardashian (a.k.a. Reggie Bush). Vilma and the drafting of Sedrick Ellis catapult this team in to contender status.

2. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS- (9-7) Jon Gruden is to quaterbacks as Elizabeth Taylor is to marriage. Can you imagine which QB becomes Chucky's Larry Fortensky this year. Yeesh! The defense will keep them in the mix though.

3. CAROLINA PANTHERS-( 6-10) Poor John Fox, just when it looked like things were going to get better, Steve Smith decides to go Westbrook (Michael, that is) during training camp and realistically puts them on the road to the No. 10 pick in the draft next year.

4. ATLANTA FALCONS- ( 4-12)  Thanks Mike Vick! Matt Ryan doesn't deserve this! Just like my gal Hillary, wait till 2012.

NFC WEST
1. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS- (11-5) Call it the Mike Holmgren farewell tour. The best home field advantage in the NFL. Soft schedule and experience will easily win this division.

2. ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-8)- I want to know when people will stop saying this is the Cardinals year. It's the most abused phrase in any real NFL magazine preview every year bar none.

3. ST. LOUIS RAMS- (7-9) Will entertain and gradually get better as the season goes on.

4. SAN FRANCISCO 49 ERS- (5-11) The Dennis Kucinich of this bad division!

PLAYOFF TEAMS
DALLAS
MINNESOTA
NEW ORLEANS
SEATTLE
PHILADELPHIA
NY GIANTS


PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS
WILD CARD AFC
INDIANAPOLIS DEF JACKSONVILLE
NY JETS
DEF PITTSBURGH

DIVISIONAL
NEW ENGLAND DEF NY JETS
INDIANAPOLIS DEF SAN DIEGO

AFC CHAMPS
NEW ENGLAND DEF
INDIANAPOLIS

WILD CARD NFC
NY GIANTS DEF SEATTLE
PHILADELPHIA DEF MINNESOTA

DIVISIONAL
DALLAS DEF NY GIANTS
NEW ORLEANS DEF PHILADELPHIA

NFC CHAMPS
NEW ORLEANS DEF
DALLAS

SUPER BOWL
NEW ENGLAND DEF
NEW ORLEANS

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