You want it? You got it, America. Instant replay is back. Our long national nightmare is over. Every critical third-and-12 play will be adjudicated correctly, every clodhopper announcer will be silenced and satisfied and every season we'll finally have a real NFL champion, not some phony baloney stooge propped up by incompetent referees.
This is not just an officiating issue, it goes to the core of the most basic of American liberties and freedoms. Lives are at stake here, my good people. Justice must be served, even if it's just a matter of possession and control with both feet inbounds.
Thankfully, our children and our children's children and our children's children's children will never be subjected to another Vinny Testaverde scoring a touchdown when he clearly was stopped short of the goal line.
My goodness, exactly at what point did we wake up and completely lose our minds when it comes to sports in this country? You turn on the radio, you'd think instant replay was the biggest breakthrough since the flu shot. As Bernie Kukar will be my witness, it is not.
Instant replay's like Pepsi One--sounds good, tastes bad.
And, now, on to live NFL action!!!
For those of you coming in late, I am The Man. With my publicly documented record the past nine regular seasons of 115-103-3, 117-99-7, 109-107-4, 112-108-1, 107-103-9, 118-111-8, 118-117-3, 115-114-9 and 119-107-12, I am trying to become the only NFL prognosticator to complete the 1990s over .500 against the point spread each and every year.
(Personal Announcements: One, The Man is considering retirement after 1999; with the new millennium, it might be time to move on to women's soccer. Two, The Man remarried this offseason--yeah, I know, against all odds--and would like to introduce My Wife Of The Moment, Rhonda, while I still can.)
(Media Bonus: Viacom--the company that owns MTV, VH-1 and Nickelodeon--bought CBS this week. If that means "The NFL Today" will start looking more like "The Grind," I've got one thing to say: Give me synergy or give me death!)
As always, all picks are for recreational purposes only and should not be used as the basis for any actual cash wager:
Bills (-2 1/2) at Colts: The quarterback is Mr. Clean (Peyton Manning). The coach is an oddball in cleats (Jim Mora). The owner is a Mayflower van fan (Jim Irsay). The city is dim to saving daylight (Indianapolis). And the team--those woebegone, wandering 3-13 Colts--is going to gallop ingloriously into this season's Super Bowl. Pick: Colts.
Bengals at Titans (-8 1/2): Bengals' Bruce Coslet (43-63 career record) continues his tireless pursuit to eclipse always innovative mentor Sam Wyche (87-109) as NFL coach fastest to 100 defeats. . . . Bad sign: Bengals now stock locker room with Belgian Coca-Cola. Pick: Titans.
Vikings (-4) at Falcons: Having acquired a personal corporate sponsor, Falcons' quarterback now known as "Ruth's Chris Chandler". . . . Last year--the Dirty Bird; this year--a Crestfallen Falcon. Pick: Vikings.
49ers at Jaguars (-6): 49ers veterans grumbling about mandatory attendance for new Tuesday lecture series, "How Bill Walsh Changed Pro Football," hosted by Blackjack Bill Walsh. Pick: 49ers.
Cowboys at Redskins (-3): Brad Johnson has about as much chance of staying uninjured as Mike Tyson does of staying out of trouble. . . . Achilles had his heel, Deion has his toe. Pick: Redskins.
Lions at Seahawks (-9): Mike Holmgren's actual job title in Seattle: Executive vice president of football operations/general manager and head coach. Second choice: The Skipper! Pick: Lions.
Steelers (-6 1/2) at Browns: Before backing Steelers, consider this: Bringing in Kevin Gilbride to fix your offense is like bringing in George Utley to fix your radiator. Pick: Browns.
Patriots at Jets (-7): Frustrated by Bill Parcells's gag order on assistants, Bill Belichick often calls WFAN Radio as "Vinny from Passaic." Pick: Patriots.
Giants at Buccaneers (-5): Giants CB Jason Sehorn's knee rehabilitation slowed by constant need to run off for broadcasting work. Pick: Buccaneers.
Dolphins (+6) at Broncos: Original Zapruder film: $16 million. Film of Bubby Brister "going to Disneyland:" Priceless. Pick: Broncos.
Ravens at Rams (-1): The Man is taking a stand from Day One: Just Say No to Brian Billick. Pick: Rams.
Raiders at Packers (-9 1/2): Yo, Boss Al--going from Jeff George to Rich Gannon is like going from an outhouse to a Port-a-Potty. Pick: Packers.
Cardinals (-3) at Eagles: It's Year 1 of the Andy Reid Era. In Philadelphia, that means he could be gone by Week 3. Pick: Cardinals.
Chiefs (-3 1/2) at Bears: Strangely enough, Bears QB Cade McNown sometimes parks his car in the huddle. Pick: Bears.
Panthers at Saints (-4): Billy Joe Hobert and Billy Joe Tolliver? What is this, "Petticoat Junction?" Pick: Panthers.