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"Life in the UK"
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale
Habits to be Broken
I realise that I’m not the first or even within the first hundred writers to make the comparison between Tony Romo and Brett Favre, but Romo's demeanor, slinger mentality, and now even his capacity to rack 300 yards, lead winning drives, and get a win even on a day when for the most part he played HORRIBLY has no comparison except to Favre.
During the third quarter of the Cowboys’ 25–24 last–second victory over the Bills, Monday Night Football analyst Tony Kornheiser referred to Romo as having a ’Grossman’ kind of day. Yuh, but Grossman didn’t win these sort of games – if he had, he’d still be under center for the Bears. What Romo had here was a statistic–defying game, donating five interceptions and a fumble to a Bills effort that smelt like an upset from early on. And the Bills still, somehow, didn’t win.
Kornheiser was right to invoke Joe Paterno’s words about good teams playing badly on the road and still finding a way to win. But with the Bills blowing this lead, and the winless Saints, Dolphins and Rams all losing games in the late stages of their games, I’m reminded more of Vince Lombardi’s adage about winning and losing being habit–forming. It seems like the Colts, Patriots and Cowboys can’t stop winning (at least one of those will have to stop next week, when the Pats play the Boys), and the Saints, Rams and Dolphins all finding ways to keep their own hopeless streaks alive.
The same trends in winning and losing have been evident this past week in the MLS playoffs. The Diamondbacks ousted the Cubs 3–0 in a series of ever–increasing margins (of course we’re talking about curses rather than habits with that one); the streaking Rockies 3–0 over the Phillies (Colorado now 13–1 in their last 14); the Red Sox 3–0 over an Angels team that managed just one good innings in their brief playoff run. The Yankees’ 8–4 win over the Indians makes their series look like an epic by comparison. I’m still hoping that Joe Torre somehow gets another year after everybody left the Yankees for dead months ago and they still made the playoffs. Taking a week to fire him would be just the right level of disrespect to have me booing the Yankees for another five years.
Winning streaks do eventually have to come to an end, however. As I write this (in the small hours of the morning – again), Arizona’s momentum–gathering D’backs and Colorado’s streaky Rockies are beginning Game One of the NLCS. Familiarity is the best antidote to sweeps, and after meeting each other 22 times in the past year – 18 in the regular season – there’s little these teams can surprise each other with.
The same is true in the NFL. Regardless of who wins the battle of the unbeaten between Dallas and New England, the Cowboys still have to negotiate a post–bye November when they play division rivals three weeks in a row, as well as their cross–town rivalry with the Jets, and a visit from the Packers. With a visit to a hungry Washington team to finish the season, all this talk of unbeaten streaks will be ancient history by then. The only thing that will matter will be the active streak once Week 17 has gone by.
Assuming they deal with the Cowboys, the Patriots have another tough road trip in November, to Indianapolis. And when I hear people (well, Tony Kornheiser mostly) chattering about unbeaten seasons I still can’t help thinking that if, somehow, the Pats could beat the Cowboys, Colts and Steelers en route to 13–0, the Dolphins would still find a way to pop the champagne and send them to 15–1 while the Pats’ big–name offense takes a breath before a long–since secured playoff run.
And Indy? Just look at their division: not a losing record to be found. They’re probably enjoying the ’16–0’ talk buzzing around the Patriots rather than themselves. Who needs it?
At the other end of things, I’m looking for where the first wins come for the ’o–fer’ teams. I’m fairly sure September 11 will be Miami’s time to beat Buffalo. And if the Saints don’t get started in two weeks’ time against Atlanta, a New Orleans–St Louis, also on September 11, could put somebody ’on the clock’ for the 2008 draft.
Mile High Mistake: ...of course, if you’re investing any trust in my predictions, you’re obviously not a regular reader. San Diego to melt down in Mile High, huh? How about handing the Broncos their biggest defeat at home since 1966? This is why I don’t play "Pick ’Em". If anybody has a formula for predicting this year’s Chargers or Panthers week–to–week, let me know, because ’streaky’ they ain’t.