With so much holiday spirit in the air, its the perfect time to offer
baubles, or bupkus, to people have been nice or naughty so far during the
2004 pro football season. (For the uninitiated, bupkus, which just happens
to rhyme with Butkus, is the Jewish equivalent of a piece of coal in the
Bauble: To Steelers coach Bill Cowher, who opens all his practices to
reporters, allows all his assistant coaches to speak with the media and
still has the best record in football, including wins over New England and
Philadelphia on back-to-back weekends.
Bupkus: To Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who has all the baubles and big
bucks he needs anyway. Still, after five different coaches in his first six
years of ownership, hes still got nothing to show for it on the football
field, except some of the highest profits in the league.
Bauble: To Marty Schottenheimer, who somehow avoided getting fired in
the offseason, got rid of some rotten apples and got lucky when Drew Brees
finally decided to play like a big-time quarterback.
Bupkus: To Tom Coughlin, the N.Y. Giants coach who fines players for
being late because theyre only two minutes early instead of five, then
takes his team out of the playoff hunt by benching Kurt Warner and starting
rookie Eli Manning, now 0-4 and playing like a rookie with no confidence in
himself at all.
Bauble: To Colts quarterback Peyton Manning for showing young
quarterbacks the right way to do everything, on and off the field.
Bupkus: To Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer, who gave new meaning to the
Mile High Salute when he gave half a peace sign to an unruly fan heckling
him from the stands last Sunday. Already out of favor with Denver followers
who wonder why he still throws so many interceptions, Plummer will now have
to get his team into the playoffs in order to stem all the boos.
Bauble: To Carolina Coach John Fox, whos injury-decimated team started
1-7 and is now back in the playoff chase in the mediocre NFC after six
Bupkus: To Dallas Coach Bill Parcells, who actually thought that a
41-year-old quarterback could somehow carry his football team back to the
playoffs, and also questioned the toughness of rookie running back Julius
Jones early in the season, only to see him have three straight 30-carry,
100-yard plus games.
Bauble: To Patriots assistant Charlie Weis, finally rewarded for all
his good work as the Patriots offensive coordinator with his dream job at
Notre Dame. Wonder if Bill Belichick will now allow the head coach of the
Fighting Irish to speak to reporters covering the Patriots until their
Bupkus: To St. Louis head coach Mike Martz, who keeps blaming everyone
else for his teams shortcomings, when all he has to do is look in the
mirror every day to figure out what keeps going wrong.
Bauble: To Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre, who brought his team back
from a 1-4 start to lead the NFC North, despite the death of his
brother-in-law in an all-terrain vehicle accident, and learning at midseason
that his wife has breast cancer.
Bupkus: To the ABC Sports genius who decided that having a naked lady
jump into the arms of Terrell Owens in prime time was a boffo idea, not to
mention the rocket scientist on the Eagles who actually allowed it to
Bauble: To Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick for breathtaking
performances almost every week in leading rookie head coach Jim Mora and the
Falcons to a division title for only the third time in 39 years.
Bupkus: To Ricky Williams, the former Miami running back who
single-handedly caused his head coach to get fired and the Dolphins to have
their worst season in history. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Ricky.
Bauble: To Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, who took a pay cut and
demotion to part-time back and touchdown scorer to stay exactly where he
belonged, then answered the bell when Duce Staley got hurt with three
straight 100-yard performances.
Bupkus: To San Francisco owner John York and general manager Terry
Donahue who have turned the 49ers, one of the great teams of the 1980s, into
a semi-expansion outfit.
Bauble: To Gregg Williams, the Redskins defensive coordinator whos
unit has kept the team close in so many losses. Joe Gibbs and the offense
owe this guy big-time.
Bupkus: To any of my fellow Hall of Fame selectors who fail to vote
for retired Redskins receiver Art Monk to make the Halls Class of 2005.
Questions or comments? Send Len an e-mail.