Commentary

Page 2 Power Rankings: NFL edition

Originally Published: September 21, 2009
By Patrick Hruby | Page 2

Welcome to another edition of Page 2's weekly Power Rankings, where the confusion of a world in which an upcoming movie will reportedly feature LeBron James playing himself -- as opposed to a tiny white comedian's sidekick, a wisecracking cartoon rabbit's sidekick, a hardass in a group of hard-luck soldiers, a driver in a "Cannonball Run" revival, a shirtless barbarian, a rapping genie, a naval frogman, a shirtless opponent of Bruce Lee, or Brett Favre -- is replaced by the clarity of making a list:

1. NFL Pop Quiz

Sharpen your pencils!

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Credentials: In honor of the late, semi somewhat occasionally not-so-much great Page 2 Week in Review quiz, test your knowledge of the King of Leagues:

1. After fumbling a key late-game kickoff return in a come-from-ahead loss to New England, Buffalo's Leodis McKelvin found which of the following?
(a) A spray-painted obscenity on his lawn
(b) An effigy of Scott Norwood in his driveway
(c) A murderous Vincent Gallo on his porch
(d) A perfectly calm Vincent Gallo in his doorway, demanding that he watch "Buffalo '66" in its entirety.

2. Which of the following is LEAST likely to exist in 1,000 years?
(a) The Pyramids
(b) The Coliseum
(c) The Great Wall of China
(d) The Parthenon
(e) Cowboys Stadium

3. Which of the following is not like the others?
(a) Nostradamus
(b) Nouriel Roubini
(c) Dwight Eisenhower's farewell address
(d) Kerry Rhodes
(e) Lane Kiffin

4. The Dallas Cowboys replaced departed receiver Terrell Owens with:
(a) Kenny Phillips
(b) Bruce Johnson
(c) Jason Witten's foot
(d) All of the above

5. After scoring a touchdown in Cincinnati's road victory over Green Bay, Bengals receiver Chad Ochocino was greeted as:
(a) A liberator
(b) None of the above

Answer key: 1, a; 2-3, e; 4, d; 5, b.


2. Megan Fox

Just because Has an actual news peg!

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Credentials: Cinematic uberbabe/fellow Michael Bay-baiter stars in new flick "Jennifer's Body." Which actually appears to be about Megan Fox's body. Which is indisputably positive, and also makes us wonder: Why do Hollywood marketers constantly attempt to sell steak by calling it cabbage? Why can't movie titles make more sense?

Movie -- Truth In Titling
"Transformers" -- Megan Fox on a Car
"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" -- Megan Fox on a Bike
"Mr. and Mrs. Smith" -- Hot People Looking Hot
"Bruno" -- Too-Long [Expletive] Jokes
"The Dark Knight" -- War on Terror for Morons
"Funny People" -- Not So Much
"Star Wars Episode III" -- 100% Jar-Jar Free
"Failure to Launch" -- Terry Bradshaw Sipowicz


3. Delonte West

Second Amendment scholar

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Credentials: Time for another pop quiz:

1. Cleveland Cavs guard West was pulled over while driving a three-wheeled motorcycle and arrested for (check all that apply):
(a) Carrying a loaded 9 mm pistol in his waistband
(b) Carrying a .357 magnum pistol strapped to his leg
(c) Carrying a shotgun in a guitar case strapped to his back
(d) Re-enacting an Antonio Banderas movie without a proper permit
(e) Being more strapped than one of our third-grade double-fisted rifle-wielding G.I. Joe figures
(f) Making Plaxico Burress seem responsible

Answer Key: 1, all answers valid.


4. Patrick Swayze

WOLVERINES!

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Credentials: Right. We get it. "Dirty Dancing" gave a generation of girls something to believe in after Jake Ryan from "Sixteen Candles" went off to be a carpenter or something. Meanwhile, "Ghost" made mud sexy. Still, to have a week of Swayze tributes with barely a mention of Reagan-era commie-paranoia actioneer "Red Dawn," unintentional comedy classic "Point Break"; always-on-cable, late-night drinkin' stalwart "Road House"; or the Rednecks vs. Mafia, brilliant-plot-for-a-first-person-shooting-video-game "Next of Kin"? No. No. A thousand times no. There was more to The Swayze than feathery locks and swiveling hips. Give the man his full cinematic due.


4a. The SMAs

Still exist. We think

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Credentials In 1991, Swayze was named People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. How do we know? Because newscasts and articles repeatedly said so. And that raises the question: The SMAs were a big deal 18 years ago, but do they still matter today? Are they a résumé builder, a career booster, a relevant cultural touchstone? Or are they an anachronistic, undead pop-cult tradition that everyone acknowledges and nobody cares about, like Mr. Blackwell's Worst-Dressed List? In the Twitter age -- NBC new anchor Brian Williams' term, not ours -- is it better to win an SMA, or to have Perez Hilton take a shine to you? When John Goodman eventually passes away, will obituaries note that People once named him "Sexiest Big Man Alive"? We have no idea. We're just askin'.


5. Jay Leno

It's the economics, stupid

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Credentials: Leno's new prime-time chat 'n' comedy show loses more than 7 million viewers on its second night and is hammered by critics as "cut-rate," "shallow" and "snooze-inducing." All of which misses the point. "The Jay Leno Show" fills five hours of programming a week; it actually ranked No. 1 on its second night (10.7 million viewers); and even if its audience continues to decline, it can still make money for NBC. Because it's far cheaper to produce than the glossy medical dramas and crime procedurals it's replacing. In a sense, what's happening with network TV and the Leno experiment is no different than what's happening with Internet programming. A content provider -- for instance, a newspaper site -- can invest a lot of time and money into a detailed investigative or narrative story. And that story will draw X number of page clicks, which can then be trumpeted to advertisers. Alternately, the same site can put up an NFL cheerleader gallery, which costs zilch and will draw X+1 clicks. In a tight economy, which strategy makes more sense?


6. Jordan Apologists/Detractors

Why all the arguing?

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Credentials: Reaction to Michael Jordan's enemies-list Hall of Fame acceptance speech broke down into two diametrically opposed camps: those who found Jordan petty and ungracious (which he was) and those who found Jordan honest and revealing (which he also was). Why can't both sides be right? Jordan is a jerk. Being a jerk made him great at playing basketball. He remains a jerk. He'll always be remembered for being great at basketball. End of story. Is that so hard?


7. Florida

Your move, South Carolina

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Credentials: Step aside, Gov. Sanford. Show's over, South Carolina guy who had intimate relations with a horse. No matter what Jon Stewart thinks, Florida is back in the game, thanks to: a) a woman reportedly attempting to whip off her top while posing with Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, all while her mother attempted to take a picture; b) scientific fears that two Florida python breeds could mate, creating a giant, man-eating snake strain. Is the Palmetto State about to make "Anaconda" a reality? We don't think so.


8. Steve Perry

Stop believin' (Los Angeles only)

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Credentials: San Francisco Giants fan and former lead singer for Journey admits he leaves Dodger Stadium early because the home team plays "Don't Stop Believin'" as a rally song in the bottom of the eighth inning. As it turns out, Perry isn't the only stadium anthem creator to bail a big game when his song hits the PA system. To wit:

Song: "Rock N' Roll Part II"
Artist: Gary Glitter
Reason for departure: Extradition by legal authorities.

Song: "Song 2"
Artist: Blur
Reason for departure: Enjoy pint, bask in warm glow of retrospective superiority to Oasis.

Song: "Rock You Like a Hurricane"
Artist: Scorpions
Reason for departure: Lobby German parliament to rebuild Berlin Wall, the better to boost record sales.

Song: "We Will Rock You"
Artist: Queen
Reason for departure: Headache.

Song: "Crazy Train"
Artist: Ozzy Osbourne
Reason for departure: Visit pharmacy; refill medication(s).

Song: "Welcome to the Jungle"
Artist: Axl Rose
Reason for departure: Existential emptiness following release of "Chinese Democracy"; walk the streets at night, just trying to get it right.

Song: "Tubthumping"
Artist: Chumbawamba
Reason for departure: Purchase milk carton with own faces on it.

Song: "Sweet Caroline"
Artist: Neil Diamond
Reason for departure: Refinance soul mortgage agreement with Lucifer.

Song: "Who Let the Dogs Out?!"
Artist: Baha Men
Reason for departure: Visit ATM to check and recheck account balance; marvel over the eighth wonder that is the royalty payment.


9. Jim Tressel

Feels your pain

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Credentials: Ohio State football coach says he feels sorry for fans who send him critical e-mails because, "When I read some of them, I feel terrible for them because there's no way they're happy. They've got to be some of the most unhappy people in the world, and I feel bad because we just made them less happy, and I hate to be a part of making someone less happy. I mean, they're already miserable." Of course! And let's get to the bottom of said misery with (another) pop quiz:

ANALOGIES
1. Tressel : sympathy for miserable fans ::
(a) Donut shop: sympathy for diabetic patrons
(b) Cable news : sympathy for uninformed viewers
(c) CIA interrogator : sympathy for waterlogged detainees
(d) All of the above

Answer key: 1, d, and if you missed it, see us after class.


10. Nipple-gate

Now longer than actual Watergate investigation

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Credentials: FCC says it wants to further investigate whether CBS' indecency violation via Janet Jackson's 2004 Super Bowl halftime nipple reveal was "willful," the better to overturn an appeals court decision that reversed an FCC fine. Um, we know the federal government is hard up for money these days. But that hard up?


11. Brandt Snedeker

D'oh!

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Credentials: The bad news? By four-putting the 18th green just over a week ago, pro golfer cost himself $100,000 in the BMW standings, at least $120,000 for competing in the Tour Championship, a $175,000 FedEx Cup bonus and guaranteed spots in next year's British Open, Masters and U.S. Open. The good news? Snedeker has still earned $1.4 million this year. Playing golf. So he's got that going for him. Which is nice.


12. The Foul Ball Little Girl

Toss that ball at daddy's groin, and you have the "America's Funniest Home Videos"

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Credentials: You saw it. We did, too. A grown man thinking his toddler daughter would actually want to hold a dirty baseball, let alone sit through an entire baseball game featuring the Washington Nationals? How precious!


13. Toby Keith

From the decade that brought you swine flu, Katrina and Ryan Seacrest

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Credentials: Country music auteur behind the sonic eloquence of "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue" named songwriter/artist of the decade by the Nashville Songwriters Association, proving that: a) 2010 can't arrive soon enough; b) the 2012 end-of-the-Mayan-calendar apocalypse can't arrive soon enough; c) Kanye West clearly doesn't pay attention to country music awards.


Also receiving votes:
• President Obama calling Kanye West a "jackass." Finally, something Americans of every political persuasion can agree on.

• Woody Harrelson's amazing true-life survival story featuring "red-hot girls" and a "Croatian Judo gang." A Croatian Judo gang! Like you're not gonna click this link.

• Ric Flair reportedly set to wrestle Hulk Hogan for cash in Australia, which should be at least as thrilling as the 1992 PPV one-on-one contest between Dr. J and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And yes, that actually happened.

• The Republican Party calling a House vote to rebuke Joe Wilson a "publicity stunt." Let's get this straight: the president gives a speech (publicity stunt) interrupted by Wilson shouting (publicity stunt), followed by a rebuke (publicity stunt) which prompts a rebuke of the rebuke (publicity stunt), and everyone involved works in politics (publicity stunt). A nesting doll of utter repugnance; your tax dollars at work!

• WWE honcho Linda McMahon -- the wife of Vince -- announces a Senate bid. And no, it's not a publicity stunt.

Never receiving votes:
• Let's get something else straight: the Dallas Cowboys can't permanently raise the Galvatron video screen at their new stately pleasure dome stadium without incurring serious expense, but they can raise it temporarily for a U2 concert? Um, does that mean the screen might fall on Bono & Co.? And if so, can it fall during "Discotheque?"

• Philadelphia Eagles cut Kendra, add Carmella DeCesare. Like swapping Brandon Jacobs for Marion Barber.

• Simeon Rice says he can "legitimize" the UFL. Apparently, Rice has never heard of J.P. Losman.

• Kate Gosselin changes her hair, the biggest non-news story since Biceps-gate.

Patrick Hruby is a columnist for Page 2.