NFL Power Poll
Someone cue Sgt. Schultz.
Because, “We know nothing.”
The NFL has flipped its lid, and the Bears blast the Pats to conclude a crazy first seven weeks of the season.
The New York teams are legit. The Packers and the Bucs stink.
Geno Smith is on track to get a $20 million-plus extension. Matt Ryan has been benched. (Side question: Ol’ Matty Ice melting this way in the twilight of his playing days — really, getting the hook for something called Sam Ehlinger is bad — has to dent his Canton case, no? One great year — with a full-time Julio on the perimeter and a Shanahan calling plays — and a career of compiling stats on a middle-of-the-road franchise is way more Hall of Very Good and maybe even Hall of Great, but not Hall of Fame.)
Aaron Rodgers looks as interested in football as a teenager before the Halloween dance.
Tom Brady is losing to Father Time for the first time ever and Bill Belichick looks ready to hang up his hoodie.
Basically, we’re dealing with a lot of stuff. Granted this is where Larry Hockett would tell Crash, Nuke and the rest of the Bulls, “OK, well, candlesticks always make a nice gift, and maybe you could find out where she’s registered and maybe a place-setting or a silverware pattern. OK, let’s get two.”
Consider this: Other than Josh Allen and Patty Mahomes — the faces of the league for the rest of the 2020s — look at the QBs of division-leading clubs at the moment.
Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow in the AFC Central. OK, those dudes can play. Ryan Tannehill leads the Titans in the South. (Side question: Is Ryan Tannehill good? Sure he’s better than the median, but is he a legit good QB? With that coach and the that monster in the backfield, do the Titans need him to be good? Discuss.)
Jalen Hurts (a half-game ahead of Daniel Jones), Kirk Cousins, Marcus Mariota and the aging Brady and Geno Smith are the trigger-pullers for the leading teams in the NFC.
Perfectly imperfect, no?
Is this an indictment of QB play or cap structure? Is it an indictment of preparation or lack thereof? “I put it to you, Greg. Isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do what you want to us, but I will not stand by and listen to you bad mouth the United States of America.”
Let’s get to the poll.
1 Philadelphia (6-0). Unbeaten and rested. Good times. What’s your record for most questions asked in a row? I think we can get a movie quote in every reference, don’t you? Who’s with me? Plus, the Phillies are rolling. Side question, since the Eagles are rolling right now: Better choice to throw out the first pitch in Game 3 of the World Series in Philly: Sly Stallone in his Rocky Balboa hat and attire or Jalen Hurts? Discuss.
2 Buffalo (5-1). Rolling and rested after having a bye last week — like the Eagles did. If you want the truth — you can’t handle the truth — Buffalo is the best team in football. They just have a loss, and you are what your record says you are. Case in point: Sportsbetting.ag has the Bills at plus-275 (bet $100, win $275) to win the Super Bowl. Philly is plus-500.
3 Kansas City (5-2). How much more fun do you think Andy Reid has than, say, Bill Belichick? Could you see Belichick ever doing that StateFarm commercial with Jake and his QB? Side note: Man I miss the Le Batard Show. Reid makes me think of that, because of all the great “looks like” game entries, Andy Reid looks like a man who stares at a tray of donuts, waggles his finger and says to no one, “Don’t mind if I do.” Life has to be better after he R-U-N-N-O-F-T’ed from Philly right?
4 Minnesota (6-1). Too high? Who gives a bleep, it’s gone. Do we really trust Kirk Cousins Eddie come playoff time? Discuss. Rushmore of TV/movie cousins, Cousin Eddie is far right, right?
5 New York Giants (6-1). If you had a vote for NFL comeback player of the year, are you going Geno Smith or Saquan Barkley? See over here is favoritism, then on this hand, it’s who knows who.
28 Cleveland (2-5). Is there a scenario that scares Roger Goodell more than a Browns bunch toiling at 4-7 after 11 games, and then DeShaun Watson returned from suspension to lead Cleveland to six straight wins. Then with a head of steam, they enter the playoffs as the team no one wants to see. Because, then who knows. Well, wait a second, guys. Who said you had to be good to play football? You play football because you want to. You play football because it's fun. You play football so you could pretend you're Joe Montana throwing a touchdown pass, or Emmitt Smith going for a long run. And even if those guys are better than you guys, even if they beat you 99 times out of 100, that still leaves … One time.
29 Denver (2-5). Uh, yeah. Not good. Future traded for Russell Wilson, who, as a teammate, makes Russell Westbrook look like PeeWee Reese. Maybe they can get away some time during the bye week. Go someplace nice. You know, I'm talkin' about a place where the beer flows like wine, where the women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talkin' about Aspen.
30 Jacksonville (2-5). So the Jags have traded James Robinson to the Jets. OK, I guess. And remember bad trades are always a part of sports. Who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas for God’s sake.
31 Detroit (1-5). When the offense makes you long for the days of Scott Mitchell and Eric Hipple, well, you are truly doing something my friends. I think of Detroit, and my man Axel Foley comes to mind. I bet Dan Campbell would fall for the banana in the tailpipe trick, don’t you?
32 Houston (1-4-1). Go Astros. As far as football goes, well, Houston, we have a problem. (Yes, Spy I know it was predictable, but I just quoted like 15 different movies in one NFL power poll. So zip it.)
OK, lots to get to today. And the power poll with that many movie quotes seems fitting on this day.
First, did you get them all? Some have quotes. Others tried to blend — Oh, you blend — and others still had a word tweaked here or there.
But, like I said, fitting because today the 5-at-10 turns 12. Yes, we started this thing as a way to write more back in the Sports Editor days on Oct. 25, 2010.
So long ago that Cam Newton was leading Auburn to a place that no one thought possible — then or again, apparently.
So long ago that Donald Trump was hosting season three of “Celebrity Apprentice,” which was won by Poison lead singer Bret Michaels. (Side question, on some serious business: If we go 80s hair band power ballads, “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” is a one seed in that bracket, right? If you think no, I need your four that have a better resumé.)
We have filed the 5-at-10 from 13 states: Rounding up the usual suspects across the South — Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, both Carolinas and Mississippi — as well as Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Hawaii, Utah and New York.
We have had goodness knows how many comments, and cycled through multiple collections of regulars, including some of you folks who have been around since the earliest of early days in this space.
So this is day 3,131, without missing a single Monday through Friday for 12 years.
It also is fitting to discuss it today, because we can announce that the afternoon email from yours truly with sports picks and attempts at humor will start this Thursday.
I will have sign-up details tomorrow, and we are hoping this will only add to the entertainment around these parts. And maybe add a few coins to your sports betting accounts. Because, as regular Intern Scott said last week, he’s been looking for someone’s picks to fade for a while now.
Yes, another product. Which means I am asking you for more of your most valuable resource — your time.
Your graciousness with it to this point has been my honor and truly humbles me. And for those of you who know me, that’s saying something.
Speaking of gambling
Your buddy Mattress Mack is back in the betting news.
That’s more than the payroll of 10 MLB franchises and more than the combined $69.1 million of the payrolls of the Guardians, Pirates and Orioles in 2022.
Yes, as we have discussed before, Mattress Mack (aka Jim McIngvale) hedges his fortune and risks with promotions at his furniture stores.
Before the ALCS, Mack offered customers who spent at least $3,000 double-their-money-back if the Astros won the Series. Houston is favored over Philadelphia in the Series, which starts Friday with Game 1 at Houston.
So he covered that possibility by making several six- and seven-figure wagers on the Astros with odds ranging from 10-to-1 to 5-to-1.
If I wasn’t already rooting for the Phillies — I like Bryce Harper and really like Zach Wheeler, and the Cheaters are still the Cheaters — I’m even more in on Philly with this news.
This and that
— You know the rules, and we all should be especially honored to have David Paschall covering college football in our neck of the woods. He’s pounding keys like crazy this week with the Cocktail Party headed to Jacksonville this week and UT-UK tussling in Knoxville on Saturday.
— How cracked is the NFL? The Titans are 4-2 and leading the AFC South with a scoring margin of negative-13. The aforementioned Jags are 2-5 with a scoring margin of plus-18. You figure it out.
— College Station catastrophe. Seems like just this past summer Jimbo Fisher was taking swings at Saban. You know what Omar always said? “If you come for the king, you best not miss.” Now three members of that record-setting Texas A&M recruiting class have been suspended indefinitely, according to reports. Uh oh. And don’t you know, considering Jimbo has something like $86 million guaranteed left on that 10-year deal he inked with A&M, there are a lot of folks in Aggieland who would love a way to fire him for cause.
True or false, it’s Tuesday. Ern, you good?
True or false, you will sign up for the “Plays of the Day” afternoon email. Actually, that’s a true or true question. No other option, friends.
True or false, Tom Brady retires before the end of this regular season.
True or false, you’d take the Bills and the Chiefs against the field to win the Super Bowl.
True or false, you’re now rooting for the Phillies because you want Mattress Mack to lose.
True or false, nicknames for defense
As for today, Oct. 25, other than the above, let’s review.
Chas offered this morning that “on this day in 1893, Kathy Lee Bates stood atop Pike's Peak and was inspired to write "America the Beautiful." No, not THAT Kathy Bates.
Man, I think Kathy Bates, and I think of her putting that wood block between James Caan's ankles and swinging for the fences in “Misery.”
On this day in 1978, the original “Halloween” was released. That was some scary stuff back in the day, folks.
Friend of the show and all-around good dude Mark Kennedy crafted a list of nominations for a possible nickname for the high-flying UT offense. His nominations are here. https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2022/oct/24/name-the-vols-offense/#/questions It also calls to mind some of the great nicknames of various sides of the ball through the years.
Rushmore of football nicknames for an offense or defense. Go.
And thanks gang, for making this as much fun as it has been for the last dozen years.