-Not one but two NFL teams this year might win their divisions with 8-8 records: the 8-7 Cardinals, who go into their final game with the NFC West wrapped up, and the 7-8 Chargers, who will win the AFC West if they beat slightly-less-mediocre 8-7 Denver at home this week. These records look even lamer in light of who these teams have played: the Cards are 5-0 in their division, meaning they're 3-7 against teams who aren't the 49ers, Rams, or Seahawks. Denver and San Diego, for their part, have been unable to muster more than 8 wins despite having two games each against Oakland and Kansas City. Meanwhile, the AFC will have at least one and possibly two 10+ win teams (some combination of Miami, New England, New York, and Baltimore) miss the playoffs. [Simmons, for one, suggests a minimum 9-7 record to qualify for the playoffs].
The Jerk Store called, and they're running out of you.
-Anytime Terry Bradshaw calls someone a disgrace to journalism you know you've got a weird story on your hands, as was the case with the flap this week over Detroit reporter Rob Parker asking Rod Marinelli if he wished his daughter had married a better defensive coordinator (the Lions' coordinator is Marinelli's son-in-law). Marinelli disingenuously criticized Parker for attacking his daughter, which is ridiculous: it would have been an attack on his daughter if Parker had actually criticized her for not marrying a better defensive coordinator ("What about that nice Dick LeBeau? He's such a gentleman, and he's a master of the zone blitz."), but this was clearly a criticism of Marinelli himself for letting nepotism influence the makeup of his coaching staff. The delivery was a bit Costanzian, but as the Lions now appear uninterested in avoiding an 0-16 finish after playing dead against the Saints last week, it's hard to blame Detroit media for not pulling the punch.
Celebrating Less than Mediocrity
-With Notre Dame's beatdown of Hawaii last night for their first Bowl win in over a decade, how long will it be until the old "Notre Dame is back" chorus starts up again? And will it come to a halt when they next play a team that actually has an offensive line? Stay tuned.
A Merry Christmas to You and Yours,