Sunday Paper (Year 2, Volume XLIII)
Through six weeks of the NFL season, there are some flat-out disappointments so far.
San Francisco (1-5), Dallas (1-4), Minnesota (2-3), and San Diego (2-4) come to mind.
But can a team be a disappointment even with a winning record? Even currently residing in first place?
I'm here to tell you it can.
That team is the 4-2 Atlanta Falcons. Their 4 wins include a blowout over Arizona and a closer-than-it-needed-to-be 10-point win over the Browns, as well as a solid win over the Saints, in New Orleans on an overtime field goal, and a 2-point win over the aforementioned 49ers.
But it's their losses that are even more bothersome. A season-opening overtime loss to Pittsburgh and a 2-touchdown loss to the Eagles a week ago indicate this is a Falcons team that really isn't going anywhere this season.
The past couple of years I've rooted for Atlanta - I have liked them a lot the past few seasons and have liked picking them to go to or win the Super Bowl. The same is true this year.
But they don't seem able to do well enough to come anywhere close to the Super Bowl. They seem to struggle week in and week out to just get into the win column, let alone play deep into January.
It's kind of amazing that they are two games over .500 at this point, the way they've played. Because, even though I only caught scores last week, they seem to have come out really flat against a team - the Eagles - they need to be able to beat if they are true contenders. It was 21-0 and essentially over midway through the second quarter.
Today is a game they should win, against Cincinnati. I bet the Bengals keep it very tight...and I wouldn't be surprised if the Bengals win outright.
I wouldn't mind the Atlanta Falcons proving me wrong and turning their season around...but from what I've seen out of them so far, I think they'd be lucky to even end up in the playoffs.
*On a related note, it's amazing how well NFC South teams do in divisional road games. If you're looking for a good trend to follow, this is it. The road team in NFC South matchups right now is 3-1. And the loss was the winless Carolina Panthers hanging in there against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints in a 16-14 decision. It's the latest quirk in the division that brought you a last-to-first division winner in successive years when the divisions first realigned. And if you're doubting the sample size this season, know that it happened often enough last year as well to make this a notable trend.
*This Cubs manager situation for Ryne Sandberg seems very similar to the Gary Carter-Mets managing situation...except, I guess, for the fact that people don't hate Sandberg. But a Hall of Famer puts in some time within the organization with which he played, maybe not enough to merit a managing job, gets passed over...will probably manage another team first. Except in Sandberg's case, it seems a little more like a slap in the fact than the Carter case. And in Sandberg's case, it seems more likely that he will manage somewhere else before Gary Carter does.
*The Mets seem to be down to Sandy Alderson or Josh Byrnes for GM. One old school candidate and one new school candidate. I read in the Daily News Saturday that Bud Selig really pushed Alderson to interview with the Mets. My only thought would be, if Alderson needed to be told to have interest in this job, does he really know what he's getting into? Does he want it, want it? Or just, eh, want it? Also, I wonder how being on the west coast with Oakland and San Diego transfers to New York. The right move may be Byrnes. Interesting point on twitter by Jon Heyman - either candidate is unlikely to hire Wally Backman...which then makes the managerial position wide open.
*Some news this week on The Last Play At Shea, also known as the "Greatest Concert I Ever Saw"
. There's a website, first of all
. And after a Thursday night debut in New York City, there is a series of one-night runs in certain cities in certain states. Unfortunately, I did not discover this until the night after the Friday night Massachusetts date. Maybe they'll come back - there is a link that asks if we want them to come back. I do. Otherwise, there will be a CD/DVD release - just in time for Christmas, I bet.
If you'll allow me, let me also criticize Billy Joel here. He hasn't released an album of original rock music since 1993. Since then he's released about 5 'greatest hits' collections, the latest of which will be released next month, and is a collection of hits across his career. Why can't I just play those various songs on my iPod? I won't buy that. I will buy everything related to the Last Play At Shea...but no more of these greatest hits collections. (Nor the 're-imaged' re-releases of all of Joel's albums to commemorate 40 years since his first album.)