By DJ Gallo
Special to Page 2

The NFL season began in all its glory yesterday with a full slate of games. There was too much happening in all the games* to focus on just one topic, so here are …

15 Things I Thought I Thought While Watching 10 Consecutive Hours of Football And Only Hearing Terrell Owens Name 1,510 Times …

(*Note: just to clarify, the "games" I speak of are those things aired between the commercials for the Manning family. I know I was confused by watching football all day which was more important -- the Mannings or NFL football. But it's the football. I think.)

1. I hate to be one of those people who puts too much stock into the happenings of Week 1, but I think yesterday's action proved once and for all that the Texans screwed up by picking Mario Williams over Reggie Bush. Just look at the numbers. Total yards for Bush yesterday? An impressive 141. And for Williams? Zero yards. That's right, zero. Good job, Texans, you idiots.

2. Actually, no, I don't mind being one of those people who put too much stock into the happenings of Week 1. It's a great way to fill column space and spout bloviating hyperbole -- the mark of many a fine media personality. So here's a quick rundown of Week 1 in the NFL. And realize that all of this is fact and not open to disagreement:

• The Eagles are a Super Bowl favorite in the NFC and Donovan McNabb is one of the best quarterbacks in football -- thanks to their win over the Texans.
• The Ravens have both an unstoppable offense and an immovable defense; all those who try to stand in their way will be destroyed.
• Michael Vick has completely figured out the quarterback position; the entire NFL is at his mercy.
• The Panthers, once a prohibitive Super Bowl favorite, are an embarrassment to the sport.
• By making it through his opening game unscathed, Carson Palmer proved his catastrophic knee injury of just eight months ago won't be a concern for the entire season; anyone who still doubts that is simply mean-spirited.

There's more, but I think that's good for now. So if we can just cancel the rest of the regular season and have the Eagles, Falcons, Ravens and Bengals advance to their respective conference championship games -- and bust the Panthers down to arena football -- it would save us all a lot of time.

3. The new uniforms for NFL referees were on full display yesterday. Notable differences are that the stripes on the shirts vary in width and are no longer all parallel; and the number on the back of the shirt is smaller than it used to be and it's black on a white background instead of white on a black background. But the biggest change is that the material has been changed from polyester to an ultramodern, moisture-wicking compression material. This is because, I can only assume, the traditional fabrics had proven to be no match for Ed Hochuli's biceps. Only space-age technology could hope to contain those pythons.

4. Congratulations to Bill Belichick for recording his 100th career NFL coaching victory yesterday. That's a lot of wins. But the thing is, I discovered there are other coaches with more than 100 career victories who are ahead of Belichick on the all-time list. More than two dozen such coaches, in fact. How that's possible, though, I don't know, considering Belichick invented football. Must be some type of error.

5. Speaking of Mr. Belichick, I noticed he was sporting a nifty, satiny polo shirt on the sidelines yesterday in place of his usual gray, hooded sweatshirt. I think that was for you, ladies of America. You don't need to be desperate housewives any longer. Bill and his big brain are here for you. I just hope you like Shakespearean sonnets read to you in a disinterested and condescending monotone.

6. As dreamy as Belichick looked yesterday, his quarterback didn't look nearly as good. Tom Brady completed less than 50 percent of his passes for just 163 yards and an interception. He also fumbled twice in the first quarter, including one that was returned for a touchdown. We'll see what happens next week, of course, but if you're a Patriots fan you have to have a very real fear that Brady spent so much time online during the offseason that he has developed severe carpal tunnel syndrome and the hand on his passing arm is permanently formed into a horrific and virtually unusable claw due to overuse. Who knows, he may have even developed some vision problems.

7. Much-celebrated new Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz didn't produce much in Detroit's first game, a 9-6 home loss to the Seahawks. Martz's offense put up just 251 total yards and no touchdowns. Meanwhile, Detroit's defense held the potent Seattle attack to just nine points and Shaun Alexander to 51 yards rushing, and the defensive line -- which dictated play all day -- tallied three sacks. And who coaches Detroit's defensive line? The great Joe Cullen. (Or, as he is better known: Joe "The Guy Who Rides Buck-Naked Through Wendy's Drive-Thrus" Cullen.) Obviously then, Detroit's players respond much better to coaches who don't wear pants. And it's not surprising. There are so many distractions to the modern player that sometimes the only way to get their attention is to get naked. So the choice is yours, Mike Martz. You can continue directing a weak Lions offense, never to sniff a head coaching job again. Or you can lose the pants and restore your reputation as a genius. It's up to you.

8. Brett Favre threw two more interceptions in Green Bay's shutout loss yesterday, giving him 257 for his career -- just 20 shy of George Blanda's all-time record. Will ESPN start running a Bonds-esque "Chasing Blanda" scroll at the bottom of the screen as Favre goes after -- and inevitably passes -- this historic mark? I have no idea, although they should. But I'd like to throw a bone to all of the Favre apologists out there. In order to prevent their hero from breaking Blanda's mark, I say Favre's picks no longer be recorded as interceptions. Instead, they shall be called "gunslings." It's simply disrespectful to say: "Brett Favre stinks. He threw five more interceptions last night." To me, this sounds much better: "Did you see Brett Favre throw five gunslings last night? Man, what a gunslinger. He threw them so hard directly into the defenders' hands that he made them bleed. No one throws gunslings like Brett Favre."

9. I read an interesting article in last Friday's USA Today that said many NFL teams are now going with just two quarterbacks on the game day roster as opposed to the traditional three. According to the article, nine teams are doing so this year -- more than twice the number of a season ago. Yet when I watched the games yesterday, I discovered that several teams -- the Titans, Cowboys, Broncos and Packers, just to name a few -- are playing with zero quarterbacks on their roster. (Assuming, of course, that Kerry Collins, Drew Bledsoe, Jake Plummer and Favre aren't supposed to be actual NFL quarterbacks.) But there was no mention of that in the article. Strange.

10. You have to feel bad for Javon Walker. After playing the first four years of his career in Green Bay with Favre, and now moving on to Denver with Jake Plummer, I honestly wonder if the guy even remembers anymore that he is supposed to be a receiver and not a defensive back.

11. We are all fortunate that the Cowboys laid their egg yesterday on the road and not at home. Just think how much worse it would have been in Dallas. It's almost a given that Bill Parcells, hearing the cries of the home fans, would have started lactating through his uncomfortably snug polo shirt right there on national television. And no one wants to see that nastiness. Or at least I hope no one wants to see that nastiness.

12. By the way, Drew Bledsoe, the media would like to thank you for throwing three interceptions yesterday, thereby laying the groundwork for a Terrell Owens blowup. As a reward they are buying you a Segway. Feel free to use it for daily errands, or in the pocket to make you more mobile. (I suppose the use of "more" wasn't necessary in the preceding sentence.)

13. Steve McNair may have had a highly successful debut for the Ravens yesterday in their 27-0 victory in Tampa, but his job is far from secure. Former Baltimore starter Kyle Boller is hot on his heels. Put into the game when it was all but decided with six minutes left, Boller seized the opportunity to prove he is still the future in Baltimore. Of his three snaps, he only fumbled one and took a delay of game penalty on the other. That's a remarkable 66.6 percent CFR -- Complete Failure Ratio -- well below his career CFR of 98.4 percent, a dramatic improvement. So watch out, Steve McNair. Kyle Boller is coming for you.

14. Fred Smoot and Bryant McKinnie of the Minnesota Vikings, the remaining team members who were part of last season's infamous party boat scandal, will basically be playing for free tonight against the Redskins after the NFL confirmed on Saturday that it had fined them each one game check for their roles in the incident. But the fine is not the only penalty levied against the pair -- both pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in May and were ordered by the court to do community service and pay $1,000 in fines. So between the NFL penalty and the court penalty, one could say the players have been punished by the double-headed arm of justice. Or at least Fred Smoot might say that.

15. Oh, and finally, congratulations to Peyton Manning on winning the Manning Bowl. There really isn't a better quarterback out there. That is, if you like 6-foot-5, 230-pound quarterbacks with a laser, rocket arm who win completely meaningless bowl games like Citrus Bowls, Pro Bowls, Manning Bowls, etc. He's awesome in those.

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Fantasy Sports Monthly, and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book -- "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck" -- will be in stores soon.




DJ_Gallo
DJ
Gallo
WEEK 1 WONDERS