The word "hero" gets thrown around a lot these days, so during this time of year, when we’re thinking of family and friends, it’s always good to pay tribute to the real heroes of our country—professional athletes.
Teachers? Firemen? Doctors? Come on, where have you been living? Can a teacher score a touchdown on a 4th-and-goal to go? Can a doctor hit a game-winning sacrifice fly?
Some pro athletes cheat, lie, only try when they feel like it, hold out for millions and millions of dollars, demand special treatment for their entourages and themselves, take liberties with the ladies, shoot people, shoot themselves, stab people, stab themselves, crash uninsured cars, stash weapons and ammunition in their New Jersey mansions, can barely read, get arrested for drug possession, overdose on drugs, have no clue what it’s like to live in the real world anymore, and insult their fans—but we love them anyway (as long as they win).
This week’s prize for the Hot Stove Player of the Week is a coupon I clipped from last Sunday’s paper—"Commit one crime and skip going to prison; commit a second crime and get half off your sentence."
Derrick Ward: What a game for the 28-year-old running back. He gained 215 yards, including 51, 17, and 14-yard runs in overtime in the Giants' win over Carolina on Sunday night.
After having a few academic issues at Fresno State, he transferred to Ottawa College (which is oddly not in Canada but Kansas; I had academic issues in elementary school and transferred to a school across town so I could retain my kickball eligibility, so I know what he went through), was drafted by the Jets, and the Giants plucked him off their practice squad.
Now he’s only 52 yards away from having his first 1,000-yard season. Not bad for a backup.
Brandon Jacobs: The giant Giants running back softened up the defense for Ward’s heroics and pounded away at the Carolina D, finishing up with three TDs and 87 yards.
Giants' O-Line: Let’s make it official. They won this award one week, were the Anti-Players another, and now we’ll make them runners up. Three-hundred and one yards rushing = damn good game for the O line.
Patrik Elias: The Devils' left winger notched two goals and two assists in New Jersey’s win over Ottawa (not Kansas) on Friday, and scored a goal in their shootout win against Philly on Sunday.
Mark Teixeira: Next! It’s the first baseman’s turn in line to sign a humongous-sized contract from the Steinbrenner family.
Anti-Coach of the Week
Eric Mangini: Somebody has to take the blame for the Jets’ fiasco out in Seattle on Sunday. So let’s blame the coach. The team didn’t look prepared, and Mangini was outcoached. And let’s face it, the Penguin’s not the best in-game decision-maker, is he? I know the weather conditions were not the greatest, but three points against the Seahawks?
Three lousy points? You have to throw Brett Favre’s name in here somewhere, too. So much for his cold-weather reputation. He just looked cold. The Jets controlled the division and now need a lot of help to get into the playoffs. If they lose to Miami, will this be the end of Mangini? And will any Jet vacation on the West Coast ever again?