1. Forgive me, Tony Sparano. Never in my wildest dreams did I think those words would hit this blog…but perhaps I should not have underestimated a guy who took a one-win Miami Dolphins team and made them playoff participants the very next season. Hell, nobody else has ever done that. I really have been hard on you in prior posts. I even suggested you pack before the football season even started. Now don’t get me wrong. I fully realize Miami is still only 3-7 now after running off three straight wins following a horrible start. Yet, your Fins have for the most part played really, really hard throughout and not bought into winning the “Suck For (Andrew) Luck” sweepstakes. Further…your squad left the Bills leaving Miami Sunday after their 35-8 pasting with a truly empty feeling…only matched by the truly large number of empty seats in lifeless Sun Life Stadium. There were so many seats unoccupied I thought I was watching a Marlins game. It can’t be easy going all out in front of so few who came out…but you put the pedal down and played all sixty minutes before all sixty or so people in attendance. To Tony and the entire management and staff, a job reasonably well done to-date in 2011.
2. Forgive me, Marvin Lewis. Never in my wildest dreams did I think those words would hit this blog…especially after your Cincinnati Bengals are on a two-game losing streak. However, your team has shown great grit and determination in back-to-back losses to the Steelers and Ravens…noting you didn’t even have rookie star WR A.J. Green in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon. Down 17 points with 14 minutes left, you managed to get yourself into position to possess the ball at the Ravens’ 7 near game’s end…only down 31-24. And…you should have been kicking a field goal for overtime instead of being forced to produce a TD. The only reason you weren’t in that more advantageous position was because of a replay decision depriving TE Jermaine Gresham of an obvious touchdown because of the knuckle-headed logic the NFL employs where a receiver cannot possess the ball and then touch it to the ground. (i.e. the “Calvin Johnson” rule) Along with Green, fellow draftee QB Andy Dalton are the finest top-two draft picks your Bengals could have possibly made entering this season. I have buried you and your organization forever and a day over prior moves and non-moves (including removing you, of course), not the least of which was Cincy’s call to hold onto disgruntled signal-caller Carson Palmer until the last possible moment. What you got back in return for him will accelerate this exciting return of professional football to Cincinnati. The Bengals are the real deal. To Marvin and the entire management and staff, a job well done to-date in 2011.
3. Forgive me, Jim Harbaugh. Never in my wildest dreams did I think those words would hit this blog…but your San Francisco 49ers are 9-1 after Sunday’s 23-7 home win over Arizona (or Phoenix…whatever). God knows how you have fashioned that record with this team. But…looking at how non-different this squad is from last year to this one the only logical reason I know of must be…you. I have admittedly been hard on you in prior posts. You are not the most lovable guy…even though this week in facing your brother’s Ravens the attempt will be made by the media to make you and your family into the modern-day equivalent of the Waltons. Every network showing NFL games ordered one extra camera for all 49er contests since your mid-season, midfield meeting with Lions’ head man Jim Schwartz for one and only one purpose only…to capture you running across the field after each game to shake (hands with) the opposing HC. I still think there’s a big-time video meltdown lurking within you that will make CNN…even YouTube pause…should we run this? Yet, I cannot deny San Francisco’s achievements…especially with what I perceived to be mostly second-tier personnel. To Jim and the entire management and staff, a job very well done to-date in 2011.