Special to Page 2
The TV Guide Channel. Everyone's cable package comes with it, or at least some sort of programming guide that provides a brief description of each show.
To me, the programming guide is an invaluable tool. It lets me know what is on when and what each show is about so I can determine whether I want to watch it.
For instance, the description for this Sunday night's "Desperate Housewives" episode read: "(Comedy-Drama) Bree is confronted with Orson's hidden past; Susan professes her love for Ian; and Carlos and Gaby try to make up."
Short and sweet. I've never seen the show, yet I know from three sentences that those housewives are indeed desperate.
Or take the synopsis of last evening's broadcast of "Laguna Beach" on MTV: "A reality series that follows rich and beautiful teenagers and their intertwining love lives."
That was just a one-sentence description. And from that one sentence, I know that because I am older than 14 and am the owner of a pair of testicles, "Laguna Beach" is not for me.
But it wasn't until this Sunday that I paid any attention to the TV Guide Channel when it came to sporting events. I assumed the outcomes of games were not determined until they were played on the field. Then I happened across these descriptions of NFL games while I was flipping through the channels Sunday morning. And I quickly discovered that my programming guide channel knows all.
San Francisco at Chicago
(Comedy) The 49ers get humiliated by a superior foe. Repeat.
Pittsburgh at Oakland
(Comedy) In an episode inspired by "switcheroo" films such as "Trading Places" and "Freaky Friday," the Super Bowl champion Steelers swap football abilities with the woeful Raiders in this madcap comedy romp. Ben Roethlisberger puts in one of the best performances of his young career by playing a bumbling, clueless quarterback, flawlessly channeling numerous Raiders signal callers from years past. Oakland fans get in on the hilarity by dressing up in ridiculous outfits.
Indianapolis at Denver
(Drama) The third installment in a recurring series in which Denver's defense is destroyed by Indianapolis. Jake Plummer appears, in what could be his final performance.
St. Louis at San Diego
(Action) A weekend visit to sun-soaked San Diego goes awry for the Rams. But they luckily escape without being killed by a manic, drug-fueled opponent played by Shawne Merriman.
Baltimore at New Orleans
(Drama) An egomaniacal, power-hungry leader (Brian Billick) and his band of miscreants inflict misery on the locals while Reggie Bush continues in his miscast role as an NFL superstar.
Atlanta at Cincinnati
(Drama) Michael Vick continues to show his range with another convincing portrayal of a passing quarterback. This episode includes a guest appearance by Cincinnati receiver Chris Henry, returning to the show between suspensions.
Arizona at Green Bay
(Drama) A young, dreamy outsider (Matt Leinart) visits a small Wisconsin town, but Brett Favre shows him it takes much more than sexy stubble to become great.
Jacksonville at Philadelphia
(Drama) Donovan McNabb reprises his role as the lovable loser. But his performance is met with a chorus of boos by those wanting him to branch out and try something new, or at least deliver one of his trademark vomit scenes. David Garrard guest stars in place of Byron Leftwich for Jacksonville and delivers a subtle, if unremarkable, performance.
New York Jets at Cleveland
(Comedy) In an episode inspired by the "Jackass" movies, groups of men with no future risk bodily harm.
Tampa Bay at New York Giants
(Drama) Brother goes against brother in an episode that evokes many epic Civil War films, with Shelby Foote as special guest commentator.
Seattle at Kansas City
(Drama) Larry Johnson gives the performance of a lifetime and Damon Huard delivers in yet another Kansas City win, leaving Trent Green to wonder whether he's still concussed or it's actually true that he could lose his job to whoever this Damon Huard guy is.
Houston at Tennessee
(Comedy) Pacman Jones stars in this hilarious, turnover-filled comedy that will have you cracking up and doing spit-takes as though Jones were right there in your living room.
Dallas at Carolina
(Drama) New cast member Tony Romo stars for Dallas. But Drew Bledsoe reprises his former leading role by standing stationary all night long. Only this time, it's on the sideline.
Eagles excited to head to bye week with plenty to work on
Chad Johnson vows he will torch next opponent for 60 or maybe even 70 yards
Ben Roethlisberger fearing trick-or-treaters will just punch him in the crotch when he opens the door
Revamped Broncos defense holds Colts well below the 40-plus points Indianapolis normally scores on Denver
Millions march on Washington to demand John Mellencamp be deported to another country
Things I Thought I Thought While Going on a Murderous Rampage from the East Coast to the West Coast to the Dixie Highway
1. It is impossible to slip anything by Ed Hochuli. So don't even try. Injured Jaguars defensive lineman Marcus Stroud was in street clothes taking pictures yesterday, and Hochuli stopped the game to inform Jacksonville that cameras are banned on the sidelines. By now, you've probably seen the highlight where Hochuli announces: "Cameras are not allowed in the team box area." But, unfortunately, all the highlight shows cut the clip there. I was watching that game live and Hochuli continued on: "Cameras are not allowed in the team box area. I'm sorry. I understand if you want to take pictures of me in this tight-fitting shirt. I do look amazing. But it's simply not allowed. If you would like to schedule a private sitting with me, I am willing to do that. But realize that shirtless poses cost extra. Trust me, it's worth it. I look that good. Oh, and you must provide the oil. Also, you must sign a waiver stating that I am not liable for any personal injury that may come to you, as you will be in close proximity to two large, and very dangerous, pythons."
2. Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was cited Saturday for misdemeanor assault after a woman accused him of spitting in her face at a nightclub. Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher still let Jones play on Sunday, though, even though a week ago he deactivated linebacker Robert Reynolds and told him to leave the team's facility after Reynolds also was charged with a misdemeanor. Seems like a bit of a double standard there by Fisher. Personally, I would expect more consistency out of a guy who has kept the same hairstyle for the past 20 years.
3. It's time to give Brett Favre some credit for how well he has played in the past month. He has limited his mistakes and kept the Packers in almost every game. And at age 37, it must make him feel great to receive compliments like that, the kind usually reserved for a young rookie almost half his age. And also sad. Unbelievably sad.
4. Drew Bledsoe had to be watching Tony Romo last night and ruing the fact that he wasn't blessed with more mobility. Because if Bledsoe were more mobile, things would have turned out differently for him in Dallas, I can guarantee that. For one, he would have been sacked a lot less. And two, he would have bought himself a lot more time in the pocket before throwing interceptions. But mainly he would have been sacked less.
5. NBC showed a graphic Sunday night during the Cowboys-Panthers game that displayed head shots of the three current NFL head coaches who are graduates of Eastern Illinois: Mike Shanahan, Brad Childress and Sean Payton. The graphic then changed to show what the coaches looked like during their college days. Only the image of Childress didn't change, meaning either NBC didn't have an old photo of him, or the Vikings' head coach looked like this in 1978 as a 22-year-old college senior. I actually think that it's the latter and that Eastern Illinois offers a major in Creepy.
6. Speaking of graphics, CBS had a cool one during the Saints-Ravens game. The Superdome crowd was really loud in the first quarter, near 100 decibels, so up came a graphic explaining how loud 100 decibels is. A pin drop is 15 decibels. A whisper is 40. A rock concert? That's 110 decibels. An airport runway is 120. And the threshold of pain is 135. But although the graphic was fun and informative, it left open a lot of gray areas. For instance, what rock concert are we talking about? If we're talking John Mellencamp, I'm going to be in pain at just 40 decibels. By the time it gets near 120, I will have long since killed myself.
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.