Technology is not always progress. (Example: Hair-in-a-can.) In the neo-agrarian NFL, it's a latter-day Industrial Revolution out there: walkie-talkies, headsets, computer readouts, digital tape, helmet radios and, of course, instant replay. It's not a football game anymore, it's Mortal Kombat in cleats.

It's all-tech all the time. I'm surprised the long snapper is not wired for pulse and pornographic thoughts.

Whatever happened to drawing a play in the dirt and telling everyone to go deep?

Did you ever see Lombardi with a headset? You think Patton ever would've checked with the booth upstairs?

Once upon a Sunday afternoon those Polaroid snapshots they'd peruse on the sideline were considered high-end handiwork. Heck, a couple of weeks back I thought I saw Spielberg directing Rams defensive game film.

If Paul Brown were to rise from the grave, about the only thing he might recognize is the chain gang. And you know those guys' days are numbered. What, like they're not going to be using a first-down laser beam by 2010?

Frankly, I believe there is no sadder sight in sport than seeing someone such as Dan Marino, between snaps, hands on the sides of his helmet, with that quizzical, disturbed look on his face as he tries to make out what the heck they're telling him the next play is going to be.

Let's lose the technocrats and LET 'EM PLAY BALL.

If it were up to The Man, it would be 11-on-11, no pads, no domes, no turf, no third-down backs, no pass-rush specialists, no situation substitutions, no assistant head coaches/quality control, no replay reviews, no sideline reporters and no late hits unless it's an hour or so after the game has ended.

Then again, what do I know? I still think the 49ers are going to finish 10-6.

(Film Note: New James Bond movie features exploding chalkboard, first used by Bill Parcells in 1987.)

(TV Note: Instant replay to be considered for next season of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.")

As always, the following picks against the point spread are for recreational purposes only:

Jets at Colts (-7): En route to galloping ingloriously into Super Bowl XXXIV, these Colts, I hope, are gracious enough to stop off and give me a lift. . . . Jets QB Ray Lucas showed up for last Sunday's game in a carriage that looked a lot like a pumpkin. Pick: Colts.

Cardinals at Giants (-5): The Giants are, I believe, the worst 5-5 team in the history of organized sports at any level on any continent, including Antarctica. . . . Having tried everything else, Giants Coach Jim Fassel will now turn to United Way for offensive help. Pick: Giants.

Chargers at Vikings (-13 1/2): In effort to bolster Ryan Leaf's image, Chargers have scheduled interview with Jim Gray. . . . Jeff George can be used either as a noun ("Eventually you'll lose with Jeff George") or as a verb ("Oh, no, he jeff georged it again!"). Pick: Chargers.

Saints at Rams (-13 1/2): DE Kevin Carter was signing autographs at 3Com Park last week with 2:18 to go and his Rams leading the 49ers, 23-7. That's like Luciano Pavarotti eating penne arrabiata on stage midway through Act 4 of La Boheme. Pick: Rams.

Eagles at Redskins (-10 1/2): Redskins owner Daniel Snyder rarely looks happy when TV cameras zoom in on him. . . . Eagles G Jeff Dellenbach to start magazine "Holders Aficionado." Pick: Redskins.

Buccaneers at Seahawks (-6): When Buccaneers' Martin Gramatica makes any field goal, he's reminiscent of Jim Valvano streaking across court looking for someone to hug after N.C. State won '83 NCAA title. Pick: Buccaneers.

Chiefs at Raiders (-4): On sideline, somehow Raiders Kid Coach Jon Gruden appears to be simultaneously amused and disgusted at all times. . . . Al Davis took Wednesday off to look for a new can opener. Pick: Chiefs.

Packers (-6) at 49ers: 49ers to dump West Coast offense and install smoke alarm in huddle. . . . Bill Walsh secretly overseeing Panama Canal takeover. Pick: 49ers.

Falcons at Panthers (-5): To give their offense more realistic game preparation, Falcons will change practice-field surface from artificial turf to quicksand. Pick: Falcons.

Titans (-11) at Browns: NBC is developing a series for "Saturday Night Live's" Tim Meadows. This is like developing a running game for the Browns' Terry Kirby. Pick: Browns.

Jaguars (-7) at Ravens: Cash-strapped Ravens owner Art Modell purchased Jaguars' game plan on layaway Tuesday. Pick: Jaguars.

Bears at Lions (-6): With NFC-leading 90 penalties, Bears see more yellow than the USA Today weather map. Pick: Bears.

Patriots at Bills (-4 1/2): League denied Patriots' request to use rodeo clown to distract Doug Flutie Sunday. Pick: Patriots.

Dolphins at Cowboys (-2): Martin and Lewis, Sonny and Cher, Jimmy and Jerry. Pick: Cowboys.

Bengals at Steelers (-11): Bengals defense has roughly the consistency of gazpacho. Pick: Bengals.

Last week: 6-8-1.

Season record: 65-83-8.*

(*The Man doesn't need any more mail letting me know my picks are poor. I can see my record in the paper just as well as you can.)