Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

by Doug Farrar

Ahoy-hoy, Scrambalayas! Bill Barnwell has entrusted me with the Franchise while he takes this week to move from the East Coast ... to the West Coast ... down the Dixie highway back home (GAH!), and I'm proud to sub in.

When thinking about what to do with Scramble's esoteric format, I was prodded to remember my favorite coaching meltdowns by Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy's recent flameout. The "meltdown" concept could certainly apply to players/positional units/teams, but that's well-covered on this site and many others. Instead, I wanted to share my Great Eight coaching rants/freakouts/braincramps, and see what your favorites might be. Fear not, though. Your Scramble favorites -- Best Bets, Loser League, and Keep Choppin' Wood -- are below the fold, and hopefully almost as entertaining as they are when Bill does them. Plus, Gil Thorp gets to the bottom of some Week 4 quarterback horribleness. Sound like fun? Let's go!

My eight favorite meltdowns, in reverse order:

Coach: Bill Callahan, Oakland Raiders
Date: November 30, 2003
Reason: The defending AFC Champions had just lost to the Denver Broncos, 22-8, and were held without a touchdown for the first time in three seasons. The Raiders were penalized 11 times for 89 yards and lost three fumbles.
Meltdown: "If we don't learn how not to beat ourselves, we won't win again, and we won't win for a long time," Callahan said in his postgame tantrum. "We've got to be the dumbest team in America in terms of playing the game. I'm highly critical because of the way we give games away -- we give 'em away! Period. It's embarrassing, and I represent that. And I apologize for that. If that's the best we can do, it's a sad product."
Result: That loss put Oakland at 3-9, and Callahan's outburst infuriated his players. Cornerback Charles Woodson, who couldn't stand Callahan anyway, later remarked, "I can't believe (a) grown man would call another man dumb." Offensive lineman Frank Middleton had this to say: "I'm not ever going to call my teammates dumb. Since you were a kid, your mama taught you not to call anyone dumb or stupid." After finishing 4-12 in his second season as the Raiders' head coach, and causing a near-mutiny among the team, Callahan was summarily dismissed.

Coach: Jim Mora the Younger, Atlanta Falcons
Date: December 14, 2006
Reason: Atlanta's coach publicly states, jokingly or not, that he'd give up the NFL for his alma mater.
Meltdown: During an appearance on Seattle radio station KJR, Mora said that he would "absolutely" leave the Falcons if the Washington head coaching job, then and currently held by Tyrone Willingham, was ever made available. Mora, a Washington alum, told host Dave Mahler and college roommate Hugh Millen that "if that job's open, you'll find me at the friggin' head of the line with my resume in my hand, ready to take that job ... If (Willingham) decides at some point that he's ready to move on and they want me, I will be there. I don't care if we're in the middle of a playoff run, I'm packing my stuff and coming back to Seattle. I'm dead serious, the further I get away from it the more I'm drawn to it ... As I'm sitting here, I'm looking at a Huskies helmet."

Since Mora was still under contract with the Falcons (as was Willingham with the Huskies), he had to engage in some spin control. "First and foremost, I'm sorry," Mora said in a statement the next day." Despite my off-the-cuff intentions, what I said was not appropriate for my players, the Falcons organization and our fans, and Tyrone Willingham. I got too relaxed with the radio talk show host who is a former college roommate, and I got carried away with the banter. I want every fan in Atlanta to know that my heart and passion are right here with the Falcons and winning our game this weekend."

Result: In three seasons with the Falcons, Mora went 11-5, then 8-8, then 7-9. The downslide, and Blank's unhappiness with his comments, led to Mora's firing on January 1, 2007. Mora became the Seahawks' secondary coach soon after. Of course, with what we now know about the Falcons (and what Mora himself must have at least suspected), the idea that he was joking doesn't hold quite as much weight.

Coach: Bill Belichick, New York Jets/New England Patriots
Date: January 4, 2000
Reason: Uncertainty leads Belichick from Jets to Pats, or, "I resign as the HC of the NYJ."
Meltdown: One day after being named the head coach of the New York Jets, Belichick resigned in what was one of the strangest and most awkward public statements any coach ever gave. This wasn't a meltdown; it was just strange. After bring handed the reins by Bill Parcells, Belichick balked and quit. "I just don't feel I can lead the Jets in the year 2000," he said. "I just know what I need to do. I just don't feel I can do it right now. It is not about the future, it is about the situation I am in now. I just can't do what I need to do here," he continued. "There are a lot of unanswered questions here. I have been concerned about it since (ex-owner) Leon Hess died (in May) ... I had no clear direction of where I am going in the organization."
Result: Belichick did, however, have an idea where he would go. The Patriots had fired Pete Carroll after a disastrous tenure, and New England gave up three draft picks, including a first in 2000, for his services. Belichick brought Scott Pioli on board and began creating the first (and now somewhat controversial) dynasty of the salary cap era.

Coach: Jerry Burns, Minnesota Vikings
Date: November 12, 1989
Reason: Minnesota offensive coordinator Bob Schnelker came under question in a post-game press conference after the Vikings beat the Rams, 23-21, by kicking seven field goals.
Meltdown: "It was one hell of a game. I mean, s***, for 23 bucks if you can get more excitement than that, hell, you're in the wrong operation. Let me say something. As long as I'm in this f****** job, Schnelker will be the offensive coach. There'll be no f****** question about that. I don't like to name names after a f****** ... after a f****** game, but we can't be responsible for the blocking, we can't be responsible for the f******* guys jumping offside, we can't be responsible for f****** ... We get down there, and it was a dumb play by Anderson. I love Anderson, but it was a dumb play when his shoe came off, hollerin' up the line to take a timeout. We had a trap play called, and his f****** shoe comes off! That ain't Bob Schnelker's fault! We had another trap play called and (unidentified -- Bennie?) picks up his f******* feet and he walks in. We've got the f******* pass to A.C. out there in the flat, and the ball's thrown low. That ain't Bob Schnelker's fault!"
Result: Burns coached the Vikings through the 1991 season, compiling a 52-43 record in six seasons. And I learned that it's very difficult to transcribe audio when you're incapacitated with laughter.

Coach: Herman Edwards, New York Jets
Date: October 30, 2002
Reason: Because, well, you PLAY to WIN the GAME!
Meltdown: When asked about his team's ability to win following a loss to the Browns and a 2-5 start in 2002, Herm got all eloquent. "This is what's great about sports. This is what the greatest thing about sports is. You play to win the game. Hello? You PLAY to WIN the GAME! You don't play it to just play it. That's the great thing about sports: You play to win, and I don't care if you don't have any wins. You go play to win. When you start tellin' me it doesn't matter, then retire. Get out! 'Cause it matters."
Result: The Jets finished 7-2 down the stretch, proving that they did, indeed, PLAY to WIN the ... ah, well, you know. They beat the Colts 41-0 in the wild card round before losing to the Raiders in the divisional frame.

Coach: Jim Mora, New Orleans Saints
Date: October 25, 1987
Reason: Because "coulda, woulda, shoulda" ain't good enough!
Meltdown: Mora the Elder is the Babe Ruth of meltdowns -- the king of Career Value -- and we knew we were in the presence of greatness from his second year in New Orleans. In 1987, the Saints lost a close game to the 49ers, falling to 3-3. Mora had this to say after the game: "The Saints ain't good enough. We're close, and close don't mean s***. I'm tired of coming close. I'm pissed off right now. You bet your ass I am. I'm sick of coulda, woulda, shoulda, coming close, if only."
Result: We're picking this one over his later "diddly-poo" speech in New Orleans because of the positive effects. The Saints ran off a nine-game winning streak, finishing with a 12-3 record, and the first winning season in the franchise's 20-year history. They lost to Jerry Burns' Vikings in the wild card round of the playoffs, ensuring great quotage either way.

Coach: Jim Mora, Indianapolis Colts
Date: November 25, 2001
Reason: Because "Playoffs" had never been a question before.
Meltdown: Different team, same result. After another loss to the 49ers (this one wasn't close), the all-time Mora Meltdown took place: "Let me start out saying this: Do NOT blame that game on the defense, OK? I don't care who you play, whether it's a high school team, a junior college team, a college team, much less an NFL team, when you turn the ball over five times ... you ain't gonna beat anybody. That was a disgraceful performance ... We gave it away. We gave them the frigging game. In my opinion, that sucked. You can't turn it over five times. Holy crap. I don't know who the hell we think we are when we do something like that ... We've thrown five interceptions returned for touchdowns. That might be a league record. And we've still got six games left, so there's no telling how many we'll have. I mean, it's absolutely pitiful to play like that ... Horrible. Just horrible. Horrible. Playoffs? Don't talk about playoffs! Are you kidding me? PLAYoffs? I'm just hoping we can win another game!"
Result: Indianapolis did somehow manage two more victories in the 2001 season, but their 6-10 record concluded Mora's estimable coaching career -- he was fired and replaced by Tony Dungy, whose even more estimable coaching career has been distinctly meltdown-free. Mora's retirement may have had connoisseurs of coaching freakouts concerned that such natural volcanic inclination would not be seen again.

Little did we know …

Coach: Dennis Green, Arizona Cardinals
Date: October 16, 2006
Reason: Green's frustration following Arizona's Monday Night debacle against the Chicago Bears. The Cardinals were up 20-0 on the eventual NFC champs at halftime, but two fumble returns and a Devin Hester punt return for touchdowns in the second half allowed Da Bears to come back and beat Denny's Cards, 24-23. For fans of coaching meltdowns, what followed was pure bliss.
Meltdown: "We just ... the Bears are what we thought they were. They're what we thought they were. We played them in the preseason. Who the hell takes the third game of the preseason like it's bulls***? We played them in the third game, everyone played three quarters ... the BEARS ... are who we THOUGHT they WERE! THAT'S why we took the damn field! Now (bats microphone), if you want to crown them, then CROWN THEIR ASS! But they ARE who we THOUGHT they were! And we LET 'EM OFF THE HOOK!"
Result: Green's performance was a masterpiece, constantly rising in inflection and intensity. And the microphone bat was a very nice touch. The team seemed to respond, as well! After suffering through a 12-29 record in his first 2 1/2 years as head coach, Green watched his formerly horrid offensive line come together and his team go 4-3 down the stretch. It was too late for Green, who was fired after the 2006 season, but his postgame rant will be remembered as the standard by which all others are judged.

Loser League

Two weeks ago, Mr. Barnwell expressed his disappointment in the lack of Loser League suckitude, and I now have the same issue. No negative points among skill players, despite so much craptacular play. How can this be?

Quarterbacks: For the second straight week. Marc Bulger is your Loser League field general. Bulger did turn a negative into a positive in Week 4, following last week's -1 with a fat 3. Quite a blow after racking up 15 in Week 1 and 18 in Week 2. If he's still on your team, punt! Matt Leinart's 5, the sixes posted by Philip Rivers and Donovan McNabb, and Trent Green's 7 fill out the Bottom Five.

Running Backs: Detroit's Tatum Bell heads this list with a 2, and a fashion faux pas. The "assless" look is so 1987, dude. What's next, Whitesnake? If Jerious Norwood's your handcuff, that 3 he put up against the Texans made it all too literal. Tied with 5 were Thomas Jones, Kenny Watson and Willie Parker.

Wide Receivers: To paraphrase the Minutemen, we have a six-way tie for last. Arnaz Battle, Reggie Brown, Keary Colbert, Nate Burleson, Nate Washington, and Drew Carter all finished with one point. What better endorsement can we have of David Carr than the presence of two Carolina receivers here?

Kickers: Lawrence Tynes of the G-Men is our Losingest Loser of the Week, and it was a missed extra point that got him there with a total of -2. St. Louis' Jeff Wilkins posted the other negative of the week, a -1, which just adds to the Rams' Vortex of Horror. I can tell you that it's to the point where fans of other NFC West teams are begging the Fates to stop kicking these guys in the unmentionables. Jason Hanson of the Lions hit Ground Zero after a blocked XP, but that happened in the fourth quarter of the Bears game, when his team put up five touchdowns in 14 minutes, so you have to factor in a certain amount of exhaustion. Kicking, after all, is a trying endeavor...

Check out the Football Outsiders comics archive and Jason's wacky Gil Thorp blog.

Best Bets

1-2-0 last week, 5-6-1 overall

Arizona (-3.5) over ST. LOUIS

I know we've all been burned by that whole "This is Arizona's year" thing too many times, but really... The Rams are in total freefall, and there don't seem to be any mitigating factors. St. Louis' medical staff is working double time these days -- right tackle Adam Goldberg, wide receiver Isaac Bruce, defensive ends Leonard Little and James Hall, strong safety Corey Chavous, linebacker Raonall Smith all underwent medical tests after the 35-7 loss to Dallas, and we know for sure that Goldberg will be out for at least four weeks with a sprained left MCL. Steven Jackson is still out with that groin injury. Then, there's the small matter of Marc Bulger's ribs, and the fact that more and more people want Gus Frerotte to start. Those last six words should tell you all you need to know.

HOUSTON (5.5) over Miami

A few things to note about the Fins: Ronnie Brown outgained the rest of his offense 207 to 71 against the Raiders, but Oakland's front seven can't tackle anyone -- they're currently dead last in DVOA against the run. It's difficult to explain how badly Trent Green is playing right now. And whatever Miami's defense was supposed to do this season, they're not doing it. Meanwhile, the Texans are quietly improving on defense, especially against the run. Defenses will continue to exploit Green's inefficiency by stacking the line, clogging his throwing lanes, and enabling his propensity for hurling dead ducks that are batted at the line. As a result, Ronnie Brown is living on borrowed time.

Tampa Bay (10.0) over INDIANAPOLIS

Yes, this is the Colts at home, and no, FO never believes what we see from Tampa Bay anymore, but this Bucs defense is second in Defensive DAVE (third in DVOA), Jeff Garcia hasn't thrown an interception in four games, and the Michael Pittman/Earnest Graham combo that will replace Cadillac Williams can keep things going.

Keep Choppin' Wood

You'd think that Eagles left tackle Winston Justice would have the Week 4 KCW sewn up after allowing Osi Umenyiora to sack Donovan McNabb six times on Sunday night. However, it's worth mentioning that the second-year lineman was starting at left tackle for the first time this season -- William Thomas, Philly's regular starting left tackle, was hurt. Umenyiora is no slouch either, having picked up two sacks against Walter Jones in 2005, back when Walter Jones was Walter Jones and such things were extremely noteworthy. You could just as easily give half that KCW to the Eagles' coaching staff, who didn't give Justice any running back or tight end help on any of those sacks.

No, we have a more prominent villain this week, and his name is Norv. Alleged Coach Turner gets the Big Axe this week for his "play-calling" during the Chargers' red zone stand that began with 4:03 left in the game.

First, a little background. After Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson sacked Philip Rivers at the seven-minute mark, causing a fumble that cornerback Tyron Brackenridge took for a touchdown, Kansas City was up, 30-16. Norvalicious still had time on the clock, and a running back that ripped Kansas City's defense for 116 yards on 14 carries in the first half. You know what you'd do, but you're not Norv. If you're Norv, you run Tomlinson only six times in the second half as your quarterback and defense have a race to see who can fall apart faster.

The Chargers moved downfield, landing at the Kansas City five-yard line with 4:03 remaining. And then -- Norv became Norv Squared! On first-and-goal, Rivers threw far right out of bounds from the shotgun with Darren Sproles (?) on his right and Kansas City's back seven playing at and behind the goal line. Rivers was feeling the heat, but Sproles was open at about the 2. Where's LT? Who the heck knows? Second down, San Diego goes shotgun again, with Tomlinson back in and motioning from Rivers' right side to the far left wideout, leaving four receivers and an empty backfield. Nothing like eliminating your options.

Rivers threw left, over Malcom Floyd's head, feeling the heat again, and Patrick Surtain almost ended the game with an interception as LT hung at the 5-yard line like he was waiting for a bus. "Nuts to you, Surtain!" said our Norv. "I don't need your help to botch this potential comeback!" On third down, still at the five-yard line, the Chargers went with an offset left with Lorenzo Neal and Tomlinson in the backfield ... and O'Neal headed forward, while LT moved to the right flat. Of course, the formation was inconsequential, because Jared Allen got in Rivers' face and Rivers threw the floober that made it fourth-and goal.

And on that fourth-and goal, LaDanian Tomlinson, the 2006 MVP, the man who has scored more touchdowns in a single season than anyone else employed as a blocking back while Rivers threw a lob to Buster Davis that was tipped away by safety Jarrad Page.

And THAT, my friends, is how you Keep Choppin' Wood. Sing along with Norv! "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay..."


35 comments, Last at 08 Oct 2007, 11:21am

2 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

Nice to have you back Doug! What happened to Manic Monday? It was a great way to start the working week.

4 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

Yeah, that speech by ol' Burnsie remains a sentimental classic. He has to be the most foul-mouthed genuinely nice guy you'll ever meet. I bet he can't go through a Starbucks drive-through without saying, "I'll have a f***'n grande coffee, please! What? No f***'n cream, thank you!"

6 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

The panel is great, as usual, but it does remind of something I've been wondering about; isn't kind of weird how how Bulger not playing this week is being called a benching? Good gravy, the guy has busted ribs! So what if he played through a similar injury last year; not all busted ribs are the same, are they?

7 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

I know there were a few too many Norv vs. Marty posts when that whole nonsense went down in the offseason -- too many for me to go back and see who was arguing that Norv might still be a good coach who hadn't been given enough opportunity (w/o necessarily arguing that he'd be better than Marty).

Can we just impose the honor code and have those people step forward and defend themselves?

as if the anti-spam filter can read my post, the word is "doofus." Good stuff.

8 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

FF trade question (standard scoring - 1/10 yards rushing, 6 for a TD, no PPR).

I give up:

I get:
Willie Parker
Tony Gonzalez
Minnesota D

To fit in the Gonzalez and Minny, I'd drop Owen Daniels and the Oakland D.

My other RBs are Barber, Benson, and Marshawn Lynch.

I'm torn - I'd get to upgrade two positions significantly, and mid-season KUBIAK tells me LT and Parker are pretty close. But on the other hand... its LT. He has more potential to go for 40 points than anyone in the league.'


9 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

I had heard some stuff about Ditka and grabbed this from someone else's more accurate memories elsewhere on the interweb:

Terry Boers, now retired beat writer for the Sun-Times, comes to Ditka after a particularly hard loss late in Ditka’s career here. Boers says “Some say you seem resigned to the fate during the game, that you didn’t have any fire on the sidelines..� Ditka interrupts and says, “Now, wait a minute, you were the same guy that said I was wrong when I did have the fire, that that was the wrong thing, so who are your crappin’?� Boers fumbled for a save, but Ditka cut him off again, waving him off, saying, “Naw, naw, naw. Don’t crap me, now.� Classic. Then he flipped off another beat during a PC, telling him, “See this (holding up the middle finger)? This is your IQ, idiot.� When a reporter asked him once about his “past history�, Ditka snapped back, “The past? I don’t live in the past, I live in the present. The past is for cowards and losers.�

10 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

actually, searching for those old Norv vs. Marty threads is pretty easy. here's what I wrote then:

Egads, can I retract my defense of the Marty firing now? Talk about karma, first I had to watch Norv “coach� my fave Skins, and now he’s got his hands on my second fave team?

Fellow San Diego fans, get prepared for (among other things) the worst “two minute drill� and clock management you’ve ever seen. ... Guarantee you fans, with Norv at the helm you’ll see an unbelievable number of last minute drives end on downs.

And in fact, I only see a small number of posters suggesting Norv might be good. Chris, navin, TracingError and Mr Shush, I'm looking at you! '-)

11 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

From Joe Posnanski's KC Star column after the game:
(Rivers) wasn’t scared because his coach happens to be Norv Turner, though you wouldn’t blame him for that. That would scare anybody. It was Franklin Roosevelt, I believe, who said, “The only thing we have to fear is having Norv Turner as our head football coach.�...The second half began. The Chargers decided their best strategy to win was to stop handing off the ball to LaDainian Tomlinson. This suited the Chiefs fine. Norv. Gotta love him.

12 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

I've been offered Drew Brees in trade for Lee Evans. Who has a better shot of actually being useful? My current QB is McNabb and my receivers are S. Smith and Wayne.

13 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

Uhh, I'm pretty sure it's "down the dixie highway" not "gypsy." Though that might be an interesting road.

14 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

Will Allen, you are on a f***in' roll this week. Comedy gold, with Burns at Starbucks and your machinations on another thread to get McNabb in MN. You're in danger of losing the mantle as the lone voice of reason here for the new title of comic madman.

The Kitna "batshit" line was pretty excellent.

What, no Jim Mora Sr. "Diddley Poo" meltdown? I guess if you have to pick just one, it's pretty tough. When the "playoffs" rant appeared in a Coors commercial last year I had to explain the whole backstory to my wife. No wonder she thinks football kills the mind.

15 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

9: Boers has turned that into a long-running (and probably the most popular) segment on his radio show with his partners over the years called "Who You Crappin?"

16 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

Wait - I thought KCW was for players only. Has the Martz award been retired?

17 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

I know this is a football site, but in honor of the baseball playoffs beginning
here is the link to Lee Elia's famous Cub
rant from April 1983.

18 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

Nothing like 101 points in a week for loser league. Lots of 15s and a pair of 26s at RB. Looking worse than St Louis at this point.

20 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

"Meltdown" is now officially the most overused word in sports.

Guy raises his voice at a press conference=meltdown

Pitcher gives up 3 runs in an inning=meltdown

Defense gives up 14 points in the 4th quarter=meltdown

Team loses a series lead=meltdown

21 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

Just to figure out how bad Norv was doing as a coach (I had LT and saw his halftime stats, then saw him get nothing after that), here's the stats on their first few drives of the 2nd half (remember, they were up 10 at half):

1st: 5 pass, 1 run (on 3rd and 1)
2nd: 3 pass, 2 run (INT)
3rd/4th/5th: Pass, Run, Pass

So, in 5 drives, the run on first down once, so we get 2nd down runs that set them up for 3rd and long, and a 14 to 6 pass/run ratio. That's totally the way to play when you have a 10 point lead, the best RB in the league, and he is averaging 8.3 YPC at halftime. I'd say this was almost worse than the 1st and goal at the 5 play call.

Back to Fantasy, I picked up Clark for my TE this week since Cooley was on Bye, but after the 2 TD's, and with Harrison possibly being out for a week or two, should I just keep starting him? I could use a WR since Hines Ward and Santana Moss are both iffy now, and I can just play Cooley the rest of the year, but would you play Clark instead?

22 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

If you want to dip into the college ranks to expand the "top 8" to the "top 10", I would like to nominate John L. Smith slapping himself and Dan Hawkins' "Go play intramurals, brother" meltdowns to the list. In fact, "Go play intramurals" is my second favorite meltdown. The timing and pacing of the speech was just perfect. It's all in such a normal, conversational tone... and then all of a sudden he just explodes. I actually saved the audio and keep it in my playlist.

23 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

Hold the phone, you picked up Clark to cover a bye week? You mean he was on the waiver wire? You must be playing with some pretty funky guys if Clark isn't on anyone's roster. I'd go with Clark over Cooley.

As much as I think Norv bites the big one as an HC, you have to appreciate the irony of Chargers fans complaining about their team passing too much with the lead, after all the "Martyball" fury last season when they blew that one against the Ravens (I think it was the Ravens).

24 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

You could just as easily give half that KCW to the Eagles’ coaching staff, who didn’t give Justice any running back or tight end help on any of those sacks.

That's not true. There were at least two sacks where there was tight end help on that side. Osi just blew past both Schobel and Justice (God, Schobel is looking like a waste of money by now. He gets paid more than LJ does, and mother of God, is LJ better.)

My "brilliant fix" elsewhere of sliding Herremans out and bringing in Jean-Gilles took a hit when I found out that Herremans was playing injured.

I think Reid was just flat screwed. Maybe he should've run Buck on just about every play. Never would've won, but big deal. It's not like they were going to win anyway.

26 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

Re: 23: This is my "fun" league, I usually win it, and it's just friends from college and other random people to fill the slots. It's a tiny league (8 people), though despite three teams carrying two TE's, I still picked up Clark (I also picked up Lamont Jordan after two weeks as well somehow).

I don't think Martyball is bad when, you know, you have the best RB in the league and are up 10 points getting 8.3 YPC. The idea that they only ran on first down once in their first 5 possessions is just insane to me.

27 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

re 8: naw, I wouldn't do it. Gonzales over Daniels isn't that huge of an upgrade and while Minny D is a current upgrade over Oakland , so are probably a few teams on your waiver wire (Arizona, KC); remember too that over half of Minnesota's points came in one game. And Parker is no Tomlinson, Kubiak notwithstanding. Stick with LdT.

28 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

A possibly lost Jim Mora moment?

Does anyone else remember a press conference when a reporter asked Mora that ever-so-sensitive question, "Do you think you're going to be fired?"

And, I believe, Mora's answer included the following:
* turning around and pounding the wall behind him;
* crying; and
* ended in the declaration "you goddamn better believe I should be the coach of this team!"

Or did I dream this?

29 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

My favorite meltdown is when that dude asks Bill Parcells if he believes in the Bigfoot, and Parcell's says, "I'd need to see some visual evidence of that" and the Bigfoot is STANDING RIGHT THERE.

You can't miss him. He's the size of Chewbacca. The dude is even gesturing at the Bigfoot and Parcells is staring at him like an idiot.

31 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

"I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay..."? I've heard the Monthy Python song, and I don't get it anyway...

32 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

As a Saints fan, its surprising to see someone outside of the region remember the 'woulda coulda shoulda' rant by Jim Mora.

It's a great one in that it did seem to spark the Saints to finally finish off victories...they were the best team in the NFL over the second half of that season.

However, it probably had the seeds of Mora's eventual downfall. He saw one rant do so well in inspiring his team, it probably made him more willing to do other rants in future years...alas, I don't think any one of those had a positive effect on his team.

(While we're on the subject, maybe you Chargers fans should start a movement to replace Norv Turner mid-season with Jim Mora the elder. He's a lot like Marty in that he wins in the regular season, but has trouble in the post-season; and he's not tied down by any coaching contract right now.)

33 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

Curse you Football Outsiders for predicting the Rams current injury situation and bad play. And to think that I called the Rams mean win projection bs and argued they had depth. Well, this has been a horrible season. We're one month in and the Rams have a great shot at greatly underpeforming their mean win projection by 4 games. I think it was 5.6. Yes, the Rams may win only two games. Yikes.

34 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown! = Herm Edwards - "You Play to Win the Game" = Medley of Mora rants, includes "diddly poo" and "playoffs". = full version of Mora's "playoffs" = Dennis Green - "Crown Their Asses"

35 Re: Scramble for the Ball: Meltdown!

#10 - Hey, I'm not going to try to deny it. I didn't think that taking teams with no talent and oppressive ownership and producing suck was proof of much of anything. I think we can now safely say that Norv really does suck, though not as hard as Ted Cottrell. All that said, let's not forget that the Chargers could have been expected to fall off a bit anyway - or a lot, if the DVOA projections are to be believed. Not all the decline can be blamed on coaching.