"Yo Tommy! I didn't hear no bell..."
That's the spirit you've got to have as a football fan, week in and week out (unless you're a Lions or Bills fan, in which case you should just go visit Dr. Kevorkian).
And while Rocky V is an example of Hollywood's refusal to accept the natural ending of a beloved franchise, there are many lessons to be learned based on the trials and tribulations of Rocky Balboa, particularly in the fifth film when he finds himself down on his luck once again, scraping for respect and relevance.
As you can imagine, these lessons can easily be ascribed to the weekly vacillations of being a football fan. One week you're up, one week you're down. One week your entire team is injured and leading a revolt against the coach, the next week you're back up and sacking the QB like it's going out of style.
The NFL is never boring.
1. How about that Chicago Bears offensive line? I haven't seen that many adults running, unabated, since Visiting Day at sleep-away camp after the parents were released from the visitors' parking lot.
2. "Sue me for what?"
Oh, I don't know, Rock. Broken ribs? You'll remember that Rocky uttered this classic line after delivering an angry uppercut to the gut of George W. Duke, splaying him out on the hood of a car in his fur coat. Similarly, football players and coaches can be equally oblivious to their wrongdoings, like Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans, who said: "We play aggressive—we don't play cheap."
Bull hooey, Jeffrey. Your team is consistently crossing the line, taunting throughout games, making hits after the whistle blows and instigating scuffles.
3. Tommy Gunn: "Why don't you become my manager?"
Rocky Balboa: "Manager? I ain't never been manager!"
I bet Detroit Lions fans are wondering why the same exchange never took place between GM Martin Mayhew and Head Coach Jim Schwartz. That franchise is an absolute joke.
4. Are you sane? If so, you'll want to skip down a few lines. If you're a crazy dog fanatic, you'll enjoy this:
"As long as he's throwing a football and not electrocuting a dog, PETA is pleased he is focused on his game." That's an actual quote.
And then, of course, Vick got crunched by two Redskin tacklers, causing an extremely painful rib cartilage injury that will prevent him from breathing, sleeping or sneezing without significant pain.
"Yeaahhh! I hope Vick suffers like all those dogs he tortured! I hope he's feeling the pain of dozens of dead, tortured animals! Yeah!" - Dog crazy people in America.
(If you're sane, start reading here):
Michael Vick has some nondescript rib injury and he'll be back in a couple weeks.
5. Mickey: "And I'll never leave you until that happens. 'Cause when I leave you, you'll not only know how to fight, you'll be able to take care of yourself outside the ring too. Is that okay?"
Bill Parcells once said the same thing to Jeff Ireland and the Miami Dolphins, and things were looking pretty good for a while until the Patriots brought their Special Teams Annihilation Tour to town and ran train on the Phins all night. Yikes.
41 fantasy points for the Patriots' defense, though. Holla!
6. What is the number 44? It's WHISPP (White Skill Position Player) Dallas Clark's number, and the number of TD passes that Clark has caught in his career. Bully for you, Dallas. It's also my high school football number. For those keeping score at home, I had two catches for seven yards in two years as the starter at Jericho High School. I made some sick blocks though (on other Jewish kids, but still).
7. Overweight Drinker: "Yo Rock, you need some help?"
Rocky: "No, guys; ain't no pie eating contest."
After the worst performance of David Garrard's career in Week 3, the Jags brought in Trent Edwards to back him up and perhaps breathe down his neck. Did it work? Damn straight. Garrard found his "Mojo" again, threw two scores against the Colts and managed the game well enough not to lose. That's what you've got to do when you have the actual Mojo, Maurice Jones-Drew in the backfield.
8. Where was all the attention for prostate cancer awareness month in September? You undoubtedly noticed all the pink in players' uniforms on Sunday, widening breast cancer awareness in its designated month of October. However, September is prostate cancer awareness month, and prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer for men in the United States, causing over 28,000 deaths per year. From the "oh by the way" file, the vast majority of football fans are men. I can't get my wife to watch a game unless she catches a cute butt in spandex. But after she saw Kevin Boothe's ass, she hasn't watched a game since.
9. Did you know the owner/inventor of the Segway died riding a Segway? True story. He was testing some kind of off-road Segway prototype (hiring someone to do that might have been a good idea), and drove his man-scooter off a cliff.
Similarly, Mike Singletary, is teetering on the edge of employment. His team is 0-4, consistently makes bone-headed mistakes to lose games, and can't figure out how to move the ball consistently. Mike, do what the Segway guy didn't—defer to someone on offense that has a clue what he's doing.
10. Rocky Balboa Jr.: "You remember how you were telling me all about deceptions and to watch out for them?"
Rocky Balboa Jr.: "You're the one that should have watched out."
This exchange will take place soon, right after LeGarrette Blount knocks Raheem Morris out for failing to flash the "East Coast" hand signal properly. Bob and weave, Raheem. Bob and weave.
11. Where is Darrelle Revis? Who cares? The Jets manhandled the Bills, they get an inept Vikings offense next week, and an over-rated Broncos passing attack the week after. I wouldn't be surprised to see Revis held out or limited until Week 8, meaning that he basically held out to play half the season. Smart man.
12. Where do the Colts find these guys? First it was WHISPP Dallas Clark. Then it was fellow pseudo-WHISPP Anthony Gonzalez. Then it was WHISPP Austin Collie. This week I saw Peyton throw to WHISPP Blair White and WHISPP Brody Eldridge. Who? I know, I know. It's like they're scouring college hockey teams for skill position players. Reggie Wayne probably feels like the black dude that dies in the first half of every horror movie.
13. George W. Duke: "Rocky Balboa. Tommy Gunn wants to fight you in his next match. Do you, or do you not accept Tommy's challenge?"
Rumor has it, Coughlin gave a similar speech to the Giants prior to Sunday night's game, reminding the players that they'd be on national television and that the game would be played amidst the "Ring of Honor" ceremony.
Thankfully, my G-Men accepted the challenge and then discombobulated Jay Cutler in what was one of the most enjoyable football games I've ever watched. Apparently, Jay Cutler suffered a concussion towards the end of the first half, but I don't buy it. I think he simply quit on his team like the candy ass he is.
14. How's our good friend Ryan Fitzpatrick doing in Buffalo? He had one decent game (that he pulled from his arse), but believe me, the QB is not the problem in Buffalo. It's the other 21 positions, the coaching staff and the front office.
15. From the "duh, ya think?" file: The Imam slated to run the "Ground Zero Mosque" reported that he received death threats since news of the facility spread. Anybody shocked here? If you built a monument to Lawrence Taylor next to a treatment center for abandoned or runaway teenage girls, there would be some backlash (still love you, LT).
Can't stand the heat? Move it to Hell's Kitchen. Nobody lives there, anyway.
16. Tommy Gunn: "I'm 22 and 0. Where's the money?"
Good question. I'm wondering the same thing about Vincent Jackson, who, after two consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, deserves to be compensated. The Chargers seem to be moving forward with Malcolm Floyd (cross breed between Merton Hanks and Manut Bol) and Antonio Gates (un-guardable), but Jackson is a legitimate talent.
17. Rocky: "Hey Adrian I know where we live, what do you think, I'm stupid? I'm not as dumb as you think I am. You don't think I can smell it?"
Philadelphia is a nasally repugnant city, isn't it? All those mouth-breathing neanderthals, vomiting on people purposefully and such. Kevin Kolb is about to find out, the hard way, just how stinky it can get. I'm convinced it's going to be a long season in Philadelphia.
18. How about that Seattle offense under Pete Carroll (who clearly didn't learn his lesson last time)? I haven't seen that few scores since my freshman year of college.
19. Micky: "What the hell am I livin' around here for? I got no reason to go on."
You listening, Larry Fitzgerald? Things are not going to get better in 'zona any time soon, not with rookie Max Hall apparently starting over Derek Anderson. That team needs a QB like Jay Cutler needs Viagra after getting emasculated by the Giants on Sunday night.
20. Is it time for the Giants and Tom Coughlin to part ways with strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri?
Palmieri, Coughlin's boy from their time at Boston College, is the apple of my ire this week. No team, in my estimation, has suffered as many injuries, year in and year out, as the New York Giants. And it's not just the fact that injuries occur. It's the haphazardness with which they're discovered and treated.
Sinorice Moss (before he was mercifully placed on IR) had a mystery thigh injury that forced him to sit out his entire rookie season. Aaron Ross injures his hamstring every time he gets out of bed. Our vaunted defensive ends and tackles (Kiwanuka, Umenyiora, Canty, Tuck) always have trouble staying healthy.
Just this past week, Matthias Kiwanuka went through an entire week of practice, then complained of neck stiffness on Friday morning. What did the Giants do? They made him practice again on Friday afternoon - with a stiff neck! Never mind the fact that football is perhaps the most dangerous sport when it comes to head and neck injuries.
Never mind that a stiff neck after football practice could be signs of a herniated or bulging disc in the neck (his actual injury), impingement on the spinal cord, or any number of other traumatic, life-threatening injuries. Never mind that falling to the ground in a certain way or taking a hit to the head could have paralyzed the guy.
At some point, somebody has to be accountable for all these injuries, the way they're discovered and the way they're treated. Palmieri, as strength and conditioning coach, has failed to strengthen or condition the players against injuries, and thus, he does not deserve to continue employment.
Coughlin has notoriously bristled at firing his "guys," parting ways with Tim Lewis only after his life was threatened by John Mara.
Take a lesson from Rocky, Tom: enough is enough already.