Let’s have one more for the road

Chris Duprau

It has been an exhausting five months of great catches, hard hits and more illegal contact penalties than anyone ever wanted. Therefore, since this will be my last football column for the year, I thought I’d look back at the highlights of the past year and also see how I did on my pre-season predictions in a little segment I call “Dupes’ NFL Season Ending Review Session.”

I begin by saying congrats to the New England Pats. You guys were my pick from the beginning to win the whole thing and you did not disappoint. I absolutely loved how after every big play in the Bowl on Sunday the Patriot players mocked T.O. and his arm wave. That’s tremendous.

I would also like to send my condolences out to all you Birds fans out there. You guys as a whole are at the top of the Pantheon of tortured fans. I mean, did you see people on Monday? It must have been just like that when Rocky lost to Clubber Lang. My roommate Jeff did not even want to talk to me (not that he does usually). He was devastated.

None of my teams have lost championships lately so I forget the pain, I guess. Let’s not forget, though, that the Knicks, Mets and Giants each lost a title within 18 months of each other.

Okay, now that the Bowl is out of the way, let’s look at those careers which probably, for the most part, ended this year.

The Bionic Commando known as Steve McNair finally broke down. I’m proud to say that I predicted this at the beginning of the season. (Go ahead look back at the columns I did). Steve fell apart like those Firestone tires on SUVs a couple of years ago. I love Steve, but with the emergence of the gunslinger known as Billy Voltek, I think Steve may be out the door.

Keep it real, Emmitt Smith. Okay, so you’re the all-time leading rusher. I still say that you’re at best the fifth best back ever. In all honesty, Emmitt Smith retired about five years before he officially did it. He just kept on playing, never doing anything astonishing. He never should have played for the Cardinals and now falls into the O.J-on-the- Niners, Czonka-on-the-Giants and Dorsett-on-the-Broncos category of running backs changing teams way past their prime. Take it easy, Emmitt. It was fun watching you.

Have fun catching some sun, Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. These guys played in Tecmo Super Bowl. They both are great Hall of Fame receivers and Rice is arguably the best player ever, but when I’m sitting back to watch football next year I might spit out my beer if I see them in the game. (Who am I kidding? I’d never spit my beer out.)

This season also had a number of great comebacks by both players and teams in general. For starters I’d like to personally welcome back to NFL competitiveness the San Diego Super Chargers. Come on, who wasn’t happy to see them do well this year? They are the team you just can’t hate, especially if they have those sweet powder blue jerseys on. Yeah, I know a football guy shouldn’t be talking about jerseys, but they are damn cool.

Curtis Martin never really left us, but he was real close after last year. Then all of a sudden he went on a diet of Red Bull, V8 and protein inflated poultry. Curtis just came out this year and had one of the best seasons of his hall of fame career.

The same can be said for Jerome Bettis. The “Bus” apparently got its flat tire fixed and added a N.O.S. converter to tear up the field. Do people realize that these two backs are something like fifth and sixth, all-time? It’s insane. Good job, guys. Good job.

Finally, this year seems to have been the year that most coaches simply said, “The heck with it. I’m not coaching.” Mike Martz, well, he’s Mike Martz. Do we really expect him to be able to coach?

Mike Holmgren’s Seahawks lost two games when having 10 point leads late in the fourth quarter. Here’s an idea, Mike: play a three deep zone and don’t get beat on a bomb. Just a thought.

Tom Coughlin – wow, don’t even get me started with Tom Coughlin. The man is a terrible play caller. He nearly got Eli killed and he has angered people so much that there is no way that veteran players will want to come to Big Blue.

After the Falcons lost to the Birds, Jim Mora mocked the Eagles and said we won’t lose this game three times. Is this guy nuts? You do not screw with the football gods like that. Uh-oh, I feel a Vick leg injury coming on.

Lastly, Andy Reid. The man for the most part did a excellent job coaching the Eagles all year. I complain because I’m a Giants fan, but I’d love him to be our coach. However, his clock management and play calling in the fourth quarter of the Bowl was awful. That’s just something you can’t do. I’m sure he’s going to be scarfing down cheese steaks thinking about that until July.

Well, there you have it, another year of football down the tube. What will I write about now? Lucky, for me my other true love, baseball, and the greatest games of the year, the NCAA tournament, are right around the corner. Plus we get the football draft in April, and with the record the Giants had, they should have a heck of a first round pick. Oh wait, hold on, we traded that pick – son of a . . . Okay, scratch the draft.

Pitchers and catchers report within a week. Keep on keeping on.