You have to cover a lot of ground when you drop into The Zone. This week, Mike Tanier tackles some third-and-forever situations, sets the record straight about the Steelers clock malfunction, reminisces about some major officiating blunders, and visits (figuratively) some Seattle strip clubs.
Chris Palmer is out as the Texans' offensive coordinator; Joe Pendry is in. Mike Tanier examines the coaching change in Houston: what led to Palmer's dismissal, how the Texans' offense will be different, and what challenges Pendry faces as he tries to make adjustments on the fly.
Chris Carr, Jordan Carstens, and Mike Labinjo aren't household names, but they've become part of the story of the 2005 season. Mike Tanier tells how a bunch of undrafted rookies and practice squad fillers earned a sliver of the NFL limelight.
As they are inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor, Mike Tanier remembers The Triplets the way only a lifelong Eagles fan can: as an unholy trinity of killjoys who dashed his favorite team's hopes at every opportunity.
What good is a hard drive full of stats, a pile of preseason annuals, and weeks of research if you can't even pick division winners correctly? Mike Tanier searches for a system to out-pick the experts and learns a hard lesson about the folly of preseason prognostication in the first edition of his new weekly feature, the Too Deep Zone.
Mike Tanier goes deep inside the psyche of Philadelphia sports fans as they hope for a championship on Sunday but secretly prepare to have their winter ruined by the Eagles. Guaranteed to be the only column in Football Outsiders history with a Charles Shackleford reference.
They clinched home field advantage with weeks to spare. But when an offensive superstar was hurt in the clinching game, coaches had to decide whether to bench regulars and risk losing their competitive edge, or let the starters play in the waning weeks and risk injury. Do the 1996 Denver Broncos foretell playoff failure for the 2004 Philadelphia Eagles? Michael Tanier revisits those long ago days when John Elway was just a guy with great stats who couldn't win the big one.
There's a lot of talk out there about the Peyton Manning breaking the passing touchdown record, but very little talk about how Dan Marino set it. Michael Tanier compares the two seasons to find out if Manning is guilty of padding his stats -- or if Marino was guilty of padding his. Or neither.
The term "playoff race" is a bit of a misnomer when every team in the NFC seems to be running away from the playoffs. We could have two 8-8 teams in the playoffs this season, maybe even a 7-9 team. Michael Tanier looks at the worst teams to ever make the postseason, and what the histories of those teams say about the feeble NFC playoff contenders of 2004.
The top storyline this weekend is New England's attempt to surpass the (unofficial) NFL record of 18 straight victories, playoffs included. We're talking so much about the Patriots, however, that nobody is saying anything about the six great teams whose record may be broken. Michael David Smith has a quick primer on these teams, their best players, and the game that broke each streak, not to mention the Cuervo Gold and the fine Columbian that make tonight a wonderful thing.