This being the week that the NFL begins to switch from Monday night games to Thursday night games, there's something of a challenge in finding three things to wish for before the events of the weekend have fully played out or even come into the open. However, here goes:
1. I wish that the NFL would think ahead before scheduling matches
OK, on paper, the return of Mike Singletary to competition against the team he made his name with looks good. The problem is that, for there to be any mileage in this, there has to be some degree of animosity between the parties. In this case, that just isn't there. This is not Favre returning to Wisconsin. This is not Belichick and Mangini. This is simply two very average teams somehow being allowed to occupy a prime time television spot in which to demonstrate their myriad deficiencies.
The Bears have one of the easiest schedules in recent NFL history and have still somehow contrived to be 4-4. They have a quarterback known for the strength of his arm, but no decent wideouts, whilst the defense looks older and slower every time you see it.
On the other hand, the 'Niners have been utterly feeble for too long to remember, Singletary is no nearer than anyone else to solving the question of which of Shaun Hill and Alex Smith is the least worst, and their best offensive weapon didn't play for half of the season due to a contract dispute.
The only good thing that can come out of this is that the game turns out a whole highlights reel of bloopers, thus saving the rest of us from having to watch the inevitable comedy of errors.
2. I wish that the Giants had seen this coming
The short answer is that Eli isn't a bad quarterback and hasn't become one over night. Admittedly, he is still not Peyton, but neither are the 31 other starting QBs in the NFL. But he lacks both a functioning running game and an experienced receiving crew, which means that his stats get skewed by the numerous attempts he threw out wide, because nothing ever happens through the middle.
Surely, without Plaxico Burress, the Giants had to know this was going to happen? And that without Derrick Ward it was going to be exponentially harder to break through an already packed box? There's a lack of forward planning here that you don't normally associate with the Giants. Surely, this can't be the very beginning of the end?
3. I wish I had some way to comfort Redskin fans
I got back this morning from four days in DC and the surrounding area. My conversations with the locals revealed four things to me:
(a) The locals remain fiercely devoted to their team, despite their team giving them a whole host of opportunities to walk away.
(b) No-one, but no-one, thinks that Jason Campbell should still be starting, and they really don't care who it is so long as it is not someone who bores them to tears and loses games because they have no sense of adventure whatsoever.
(c) Everyone believes that Jim Zorn is a decent man handed an impossible task. THey
believe that there is no shame in failing at a dysfunctional franchise like the Redskins.
Despite all of this, it is very hard to see anything improving for the Redskins any time soon. It really doesn't matter who coaches or quarterbacks this team, the plain truth is that the personnel are not good enough to take the franchise anywhere. I can see it being another five years at least before the good people of Washington have anything important to cheer about.