Morning Coffee with Monty, NFL Style — by The Sports Philosopher, TSP

December 28, 2009
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image0021T.S.P.:       Merry Christmas, my furry black friend….Peace on Earth, good will toward dogs and men.

MONTE:   Woof.

T.S.P.:       So how ‘bout it, Monte, are you ready to talk some NFL football?

MONTE:   You bet, dude!   Bring it on!

T.S.P.:       Y’know I’ve been thinking about it, and I really think you should call me ‘sir’.

MONTE:   Sir???

T.S.P.:       Yeah, sir.   If you called me ‘dad’ people would start to think I’m weird….     

MONTE:   Well if I do call you sir, is it likely to lead to all sorts of additional goods and services?

T.S.P.:       Like what?

MONTE:   I don’t know….extra food?   Fancier chew toys?   Perhaps the occasional surprise, impromptu visit to that cute little Maltese-Spaniel mix next door?

T.S.P.:       I suppose.

MONTE:   Well then ‘sir’ it is.   That little Maltese strumpet really floats my canine boat.

T.S.P.:       So then tell me, what’s your strongest overall impression of the 2009 NFL season?

MONTE:   That’s easy.   It’s the offensive explosion.   It’s amazing how many major NFL records are being threatened by these guys.   It reminds me of 1984.   In fact, many of the records set during that very year are the ones being threatened.  

T.S.P.:       You weren’t even alive in 1984.

MONTE:   Fair point.   But you’ve kept me well informed, and you know how well-read I am.

T.S.P.:       I guess it’s only fitting that 1984 was exactly a quarter century ago.   I remember that that was the year that Dan Marino threw for 5,084 yards.

MONTE:   Right.   And now this year, both Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have a chance to break it.   In 1984 the Redskins broke all sorts of records for points and yards, and the Saints are on pace to challenge those records.   And in 1984 Eric Dickerson rushed for 2,105 yards, and lo and behold Chris Johnson of Tennessee is either going to break or nearly break that record as well.

T.S.P.:       And speaking of similarities, it’s just like 1984 with respect to Johnson and Manning.   Johnson is having the year of the decade for running backs, but he’s going to lose the MVP award to Manning, because Manning’s year is just that much more transcendent.   Just like how Dickerson managed to thunder his way to 2,105 yards and still lose the ’84 MVP to Marino.  

MONTE:   You’re such a heartwarming bundle of loosely configured sports minutiae….sir.

T.S.P.:       That’s why they pay me the big….uh….small bucks.      

MONTE:   So you’re saying that Peyton Manning gets another MVP?

T.S.P.:       I’m afraid so, my boy.   I know it’s annoying, but that’s just the way it goes.   There’s nobody like him.   Look what happened the other day when they took him out at halftime—the whole team fell apart, and they lost by two touchdowns and blew their perfect season in the process.

MONTE:   I guess you’re saying that even though they’d clinched home-field advantage you would still have like to have seen the Colts’ starters play the whole game, and go for a 16-0 record, huh.

T.S.P:       Of course!   You’re damn right it ticked me off.   All this talk of how the perfect season isn’t as important as being rested and healthy for the playoffs makes me sick.   They already get a week off for having the best record, they should rest their weary bones then.   There’s an old saying: You limp into the playoffs, you limp out.   And you’d think the Colts would know that!   How many times in the last ten years have they started fast, clinched everything, rested their starters blown a perfect season…..and then lost embarrassingly in the playoffs?   I’m just glad I’m not some Indiana sap who spent several hundred bucks on tickets for that game, only to have the coach pull Peyton Manning at halftime.   I’d ask for a friggin’ refund.   God, I hope they get beat in the playoffs again.

MONTE:   Maybe they were worried about being seen as too cocky, sir.   You’ve always told me to be humble, and treat all my fellow mammals with respect.   

T.S.P.:       Respect and humility have nothing to do with it.   It’s about maintaining your edge and momentum throughout the season and right through the playoffs.   Stupid Colts….They should have seized the day, and said so, said so humbly but firmly.   Coach Caldwell could have said something like, “I’m not guaranteeing victory, and I know that any NFL team can beat any other NFL team on any given day, but I’m telling you members of the press right here and now that our goal here in Indianapolis is to win each and every game.   Period.   And I’m going to keep all my healthy starters in every game until either we’re ahead by too many points to be beaten, or we’re behind by too many points to catch up.   We’re going for perfection, we’re chasing history, and we’re proud to have the opportunity to  give it a shot.”   If Caldwell—or any NFL head coach—were to just say that, after getting his team to 12 and 0 or 13 and 0, he would have my total and everlasting respect.  

MONTE:   Ease up on that throttle, big fella.

T.S.P.:   Sorry.   Anyway, it’s not Manning’s fault.   I’m sure he wanted to play and break even more records.

MONTE:   There’s lots of other guys breaking records too.   Kurt Warner broke the record for completion percentage in a game about two months ago.   That Philadelphia Eagles receiver, DeSean Jackson, is probably going to break the record for most 50-yard touchdowns in one season.   Josh Cribbs of Cleveland broke the record for most career kickoff returns for TDs.   It’s been a very exciting year, sir….say, I’m feeling a little frisky….can we go for a little walk next door now?

T.S.P.:       Exciting for everybody except Chicago Bears fans.

MONTE:   Before we get to the Bears, I wanted to ask you something: How come there are so many NFL teams named after birds?   Eagles, Falcons, Ravens, Seahawks, Cardinals….wouldn’t it make more sense to name a football team something cool?   Like Bulldogs?   Dobermans?   There’s already a Chicago Bulls basketball team, how does the “Chicago Pit Bulls” sound for football?   Scary, that’s how.   Or maybe the Rottweilers?   I just think a football team comes off as far cooler and more intimidating if you conjure up an image of a pit bull or a Rottweiler than a stupid falcon or eagle.   

T.S.P.:       Could you repeat that?   I wasn’t listening.

MONTE:   Very funny.   Keep that up and I’m going to ask Mr. Bennett for my own column.

T.S.P.:       Forgive me, little one.   You’re right.   They should name more football teams after dogs.

MONTE:   That’s all I’m saying, sir.

T.S.P.:       And don’t worry, I’ve decided not to talk about the Bears.   I don’t think your Uncle Jeff’s heart could stand to absorb any more Bears post-mortem analysis.

MONTE:   I appreciate that.   Besides, it’s Jeff’s fault we’re all Bears fans.   You, me, your son, your sister….why did he do that to us, master?   We’re all good people.

T.S.P.:       Because he’s a true fan, Monte.   A true fan roots for his team year after year, through thick and thin, no matter what.

MONTE:   You’re encouraging me not to jump on the Colts’ bandwagon, just because they never lose, right?

T.S.P.:       That’s right.   It’s my responsibility to see you’re raised the right way.   I didn’t raise you to be a front-runner.

MONTE:   Thank you sir.   My moral compass is intact.

T.S.P.:       Let’s wrap this up with our Super Bowl predictions.

MONTE:   Okay.   I’ll go with the Colts in the AFC and the Saints in the NFC.   How about you?   The pressure’s on, master of mine.   All of LaVerne is bracing for your predictions.

T.S.P.       Well here goes.   I figure either the Patriots or the Chargers will upset the Colts in the AFC.   The football gods will punish Indy for their sin.   In the NFC I’m going with a longshot.   The Vikings are overrated and riddled with dissention, the Saints have been exposed on defense time and time again, the Cowboys are hot but lack inner character, and the Eagles have injuries and can’t be counted on in a pinch.   That leaves the Cardinals.   I think they’ll get back to the Super Bowl again.   They killed the Vikings a couple weeks ago, remember?   Great passing attack, good running game, improved on defense.   As long as they don’t make too many turnovers, they’ll be fine.   I’ll hold off picking an actual Super Bowl winner until right before the game.

MONTE:   Oh!   Almost forgot.   Before we sign off, did you see that they gave that guy Michael Vick an award?   The dog-fighting guy???

T.S.P.:       No I didn’t.   Are you kidding me?   What kind of award?

MONTE:   That’s the thing—it was an award for courage.   Courage!   What kind of a world are you humans running nowadays?

T.S.P.:       A world fraught with hypocrisy and corruption, as always.   Exactly who gave him this courage award?

MONTE:   His moronic teammates.   Rest assured that I will be rooting against the Eagles in the playoffs.   Anyway, it was something called the “Block Courage Award”.   He received it just last week.   PETA and some of my other favorite dog advocacy groups have already condemned the Eagles organization in print.   What’s the matter with you, don’t you read the papers?

T.S.P.:       Not too much.   I’m usually pretty busy coming up with philosophical do-dads…. 

MONTE:       My point is this; shouldn’t any kind of “courage” award go to all my sweet trusting fellow dogs trapped in his so-called stable of gladiators, rather than to the guy who thanked them by coming at them with a club and a noose???

T.S.P.:   Come on, Monte.   You know that’s not how I raised you.   It’s Christmastime, remember?   Peace on Earth, good will toward men?   All men?    

MONTE:       I know, sir.   I’m trying.   I’m really trying.

brad-eastland11meet The Sports Philosopher

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, Heisman Trophy buff, and sports nut, in no particular order.   Brad’s other recent columns for LaVerneOnline can be found in Sports under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    Brad has also written four novels and over 20 short-stories.    Samples of Brad’s fiction work can be discovered within the links below :










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