Monday, September 30th, 2002
The NFL season is hitting its stride and there is excitement around the league.
While watching the St. Louis Rams sink to 0-4, I dozed off into a
state of reflection and I woke up in the 1980s.
During that era, a set of commercials played during every televised game.
"You Make the Call" were two-part commercials in which the viewer had the
chance to play referee. A situation was presented in dramatic fashion with
the narrators' booming, dramatic voice explaining the action on the field.
A choice was provided and then there was a commercial break within the commercial
which allowed the audience to make the call. A similar style of commercial
was sponsored by ALCOA and had the catchy tag line, "Alcoa can't wait."
So as I pondered the commercials of my youth, I became excited and thought
let's play "You Make the Call" in print this weekend. Parity in the NFL allows
for amazing outcomes, breakout performances, and surprising letdowns each
week. Here's the game. I'll lay out a scenario and you make the call.
Scenario #1: St. Louis Rams
The first scenario involves the St. Louis Rams, the "Greatest Show on Turf."
Have the Rams soared so high the past two years that they have burnt the
wings on their feet and plummeted back to earth and the realm of all other
NFL teams? Has the competition gained an advantage over the Rams by focusing
defensive strategies around the league on stopping the Rams attack?
Is Mike Martz an offensive genius or a decent coach who inherited
the crown jewel of NFL teams? Can the Rams rebound from their pitiful start
and win the Super Bowl thereby dispelling all naysayers? Or has the Greatest
Show on Turf disintegrated into a one-tent circus with diseased animals,
a nefarious ringmaster, and alcoholic clowns? You make the call.
Scenario #2: Randy Moss
Randy Moss bestows pennies from heaven on the media each year with
his signature mix of extraordinary talent and deft-defying arrogance. Last
year, Mr. Moss, as he likes to be called, declared that he plays when he
wants to. This season, Mr. Moss has already been in sideline "discussions"
with Daunte Culpepper and played "bumper cars" with a Minnesota traffic
Is Randy Moss the best receiver in the NFL? Does anyone in the state of Minnesota
know how to deal with Mr. Moss? Are we seeing the beginning of a downward
spiral in which Mr. Moss' career begins to mirror Michael Irvin's
more than Jerry Rice's?
Why doesn't Daunte Culpepper beat some sense into the brace-faced receiver
the next time he pipes up? Come on, Culpepper is as big as a lineman and
he can't take Moss? Is Mr. Moss worth all this commotion? You make the call.
Scenario #3: New England Patriots
The New England Patriots have not returned from their trip to wonderworld
that began in January at the Super Bowl. They continue to win convincingly
while showing great team camaraderie and an infectious spirit that has swept
the Northeast like one of those ominous cold fronts.
Are the Patriots the best team in football? Is Tom Brady the best
quarterback in the league? Will the Patriots fall apart when someone finally
reminds them that they are the Patriots and shows them film of the old uniforms
and Mark Van Eaghan? Can the Pats return to the Super Bowl and win
it? Will they ever leave the Oakland Raiders' collective dreams? You
make the call.
We have now reached the lightening round of "You Make the Call." This round
pits the writer's Attention Deficit Disorder against the sound reason of
the readers. Start the clock, Vanna. Will Priest Holmes be the MVP
of the League? Can the surprising Carolina Panthers be stopped? Is
this the year that Michael Vick emerges? Is Tampa Bay the best
team in the NFC?
Is it me, or are the women in beer commercials getting finer and finer by
the brew? Will the Raiders or the Broncos win the AFC West? Is the
Ricky Williams version of the Miami Dolphins the best Dolphins
teams since the Nixon Administration? Terrell Owens, Troy Brown,
or Keyshawn Johnson? Monday Night Football or Sunday Night
Football? Do I look fat in this shirt? Drew Brees, Joey
Harrington, or David Carr?
What company will bankrupt itself by spending copious amounts of money on
Super Bowl commercials that no one will remember? Has fantasy football replaced
pornography as the Internets' number one commodity? Will baseball and basketball
ever come close to generating as much excitement as the NFL does on a weekly
basis? When will Cincinnati get some new uniforms? Could the Miami
Hurricanes beat the Bengals? Who will win the Super Bowl? You make the
Remember, there are no incorrect answers there are only bad opinions. This
game cannot be rebroadcast or reprinted without the expressed written consent
of this writer. All characters in this game are real and should be treated
accordingly. Enjoy the season and you make the call.