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NFL - You Make the Call, NFL-Style

By Mason Williams
Monday, September 30th, 2002
Print   Recommend

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 officer.

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.

Lightning Round!

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 call!

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.

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