by Adam Best, Arrowhead Addict
NFL Films' latest production -- The Nightmare Way Before Christmas, starring the miserable Miami Dolphins and the sorry St. Louis Rams -- has finally arrived! And the reviews are in...
"The Dolphins qualify as the most woeful and embarrassing product exported from South Florida since rapper Vanilla Ice." - Charles Elmore, Palm Beach PostHas this season truly been that bad for both the Dolphins and Rams?
"Suicide doesn't come with a bucket of popcorn and a large soda, but at least it would be quicker." - Anonymous St. Louis Rams fan
"It’s just such a numb feeling. You sit here, you look for the little bright spots to hold on to but every day seems to bring a new low." - Davey, Phin Phanatic
"No wonder TJ Maxx has tons of Rams merchandise mired on the shelves... Marc Bulger jerseys will start turning up in refugee camps around the world as unwanted Rams-branded clothing fills the bins behind Metro area Salvation Army offices." - VanRam, Turf Show Times
"Chris Chambers was the lucky one. I'd take a trade to Abu Ghraib at this point." - Miami Dolphins star defensive end Jason Taylor
"The Greatest Show on Turf has become the Greatest No-Show." - Jim Thomas, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"What can I say? What the hell can I say?" - Matty I, The Phinsider
"Yesterday, it was reported that my St. Louis Rams requested the use of the mercy rule!" - Mack Rosenberg, Ramblin' Fan
"Can we exchange the Dolphins? We'll take anybody. We'll take the Bills, the Falcons, the Jets... no, not the Rams. But anybody else. Please. Bloody anybody. We send you Beckham and this is how you repay us?" - UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown
No -- it's been worse.
Unfortunately, unlike the Tim Burton flick of the same name, there are no happy endings in this story. There is no such thing as Christmas Town for either of these pathetic teams. They can play Halloween and try to dress up as somebody else as much as they want. In the end they'll still be the Dolphins and Rams -- the worst two teams in the NFL.
Matter of fact, these are the worst two teams the NFL has seen in a long, long time. Two terrible teams streaking towards 0-16 faster than Roger Goodell can slap a suspension on somebody's ass. And they don't play each other either, so there's that out. Honestly, these teams will need to get Powerball lucky just to go 1-15 or 2-14. 3-13? A full-fledged Beatles reunion tour is more likely.
While I could sit here and play doctor and diagnose what is wrong with each team, I won't. Hey, some of us just aren't cut out to treat the terminally ill. Instead, I'm going to sum up all the other NFL teams' seasons through the midway point (we're essentially there, folks) with a movie:
The Other NFL Midway-Point Movies:
1408 (New Orleans Saints) - This is not what the Saints thought they signed up for. Just how nobody returns from the hotel room 1408, no team will return from 0-4, 1-4 or even 2-4 to win the '08 Super Bowl. Certainly not this team, anyway.
The Big Sleep (Seattle Seahawks) - Like the Bogie and Bacall flick, the Seahawks have plenty of stars. The difference is Bogie's private eye character gets paid and delivers. Shaun Alexander? Not so much. His career nodded off a while ago. Now he's rushing for 47 yards against the Rams, destroying fantasy teams everywhere and doing commercials with Joey Fatone. Sleep? I meant hibernation.
The Color Purple (Minnesota Vikings) - The Vikes' passing game looks so bad, you'd think that Whoopi Goldberg was the one taking snaps. Actually, I'm pretty sure Whoopi could do a better job under center than current quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Plus, the dreds are en vogue right now, yo. Anyway, at least they've got Purple Hov to fall back on.
Cujo (Atlanta Falcons) - For a team that harbored dogfighting king Michael Vick (c'mon, you know they knew... you don't give a guy a bajillion dollars without knowing all his dirty little secrets), it's pretty ironic that the season is coming back to bite them in the ass. Unlike the movie, the dogs are going to get the last laugh here. (By the way, how weird is it that the lead male character in Cujo is named Vic?)
Das Boot (Denver Broncos) - There's no denying that without Jason Elam's boot the Broncos' ship would've sunk a long time ago. How many last-second game-winning field goals does this dude have in him? As someone who hates the Donks way more than any other team, it's getting real annoying. Real annoying. From their POV, though, 3-3 is a completely different ball game than 0-6. They're still right in the AFC West hunt.
Dazed and Confused (Philadelphia Eagles) - "Weren't we supposed to be Super Bowl contenders?" "I thought Donovan McNabb was back?" "Was that Osi Umenyiora or Lawrence Taylor that just sacked McNabb again?" Plus, this works for Andy Reid's kids, too. Yes, I went there.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Kansas City Chiefs) - The Chiefs must have their collective memory wiped after each game. Any team that can get smeared by the Houston Texans and then go to San Diego and blow out the Chargers is schizo. Then again, it could have just been the return of Jared Allen. But he's kind of schizo himself. Weird.
Fargo (San Diego Chargers) - Coming into the season, it seemed like the Chargers were set. Like Bill Macy in Fargo, though, it appears that a good set up isn't good enough for Norv Turner. Will it be the Broncos or the Chiefs that play homely underdog Frances McDormand and take him down in the AFC West?
Fight Club (New York Giants) - I know, I know. Comparing Eli Manning to Tyler Durden is a ginormous stretch. But ignore that and think of this quote of Tyler's: "Only after disaster can we be resurrected." The 0-2-and-left-for-dead Giants were done. They were beaten, bloodied and fighting amongst themselves. That's when this club found its fight. Sure, eventually it will all blow up, but the G-Men will take plenty of other teams down with them before then.
Finding Neverland (Arizona Cardinals) - Neverland was a figment of the imagination in this movie, a fantasy land where boys could escape the troubles of their days. For the Cardinals, Neverland is the postseason. And while daydreaming of the postseason sure is fun, they just can't imagine the playoffs into reality. Especially this year -- Kurt Warner used up all of his Neverland tickets long ago. Am I the only one who's getting sick of this team being the trendy-sleeper-pick-that-does-nothing team every single year? Huh? We have to stop raving about the Cards until they actually do something. This needs to be a rule.
The Fisher King (Tennessee Titans) - Kudos to Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, who's survived both Pacman Jones and the Madden cover jinx (so far) to keep his team in contention. He's just so steady. On the other hand, everything about this movie was crazy. The crazy guy who killed everybody. The crazy transient bum (Robin "RV" Williams). The director (Terry Gilliam). But the movie's still damn good. I guess that's the point; Consistently in the mist of craziness, our guy Fish always pulls through.
Groundhog Day (Jacksonville Jaguars) - No matter how good the Jags think they are, each season they wake up and realize that they aren't in the same class as the Colts. The defense might be Bill Murrayesque, but the passing game reeks worse than Andie MacDowell's acting. Passing attack? You ain't got any! Am I right, or am I right, or am I right?
Grumpy Old Men (Washington Redskins) - Joe Gibbs and the rest of that geriatric, senile outfit he calls a coaching staff aren't what they once were. Defensively the 'Skins are fantastic, but these old timers just don't have enough left at this point to help the pedestrian offense put points on the board. Especially with Santana Moss on the back of a milk carton. Carlos Santana could have done what he's done at wideout over the course of the past month.
The Hustler (San Francisco 49ers) - You know who I'm sick of? Mike Nolan, that's who. He walks around wearing his suits, talking about his old man's legacy, the Niners' legacy, the legacy of my balls... shut up and coach. This is your third year and you haven't accomplished jack. And it's not like the front office didn't spend a trillion dollars this offseason. F*** the suit. Without his leadership skills, Napoleon was just another ass clown in a stupid costume. I really think Nolan should get fired. Can't you tell?
The Illusionist (Detroit Lions) - The Lions would probably prefer to be The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, a fantasy movie in which a Lion is the most powerful of all creatures. Unfortunately for them, this isn't fantasy. The greatest trick of the NFL season so far has been that the 4-2 Lions have actually convinced a few people that they're for real. Matt Millen, you almost had us. Almost. We were distracted by Jon Kitna and his miracles.
Kill Bill Vol. 2 (Indianapolis Colts) - The Colts took out Bill Belichick's crew last year on the way to a Super Bowl. This year killing Bill will be much, much harder. Peyton better get his Uma on and learn how to throw out of a coffin, because he might find himself buried in one come week 9, and again in the playoffs.
Lethal Weapon 4,000 (Green Bay Packers) - Brett Favre and Donald Driver's old asses are doing a pretty damn good impersonation of the Mel Gibson-Danny Glover duo. Wildman Brett's soaking up the pub, while Double D is just happy to still be enjoying the ride. Like one of the Weapon installments, however, the sh**ter is going to blow at some point. When it does, it won't be pretty. Hey, that's what happens when you have absolutely no running game.
The Lost Weekend (Dallas Cowboys) - Everyone in Big D has somehow already forgotten about The Duel in Dallas. If I were the Cowboys, I'd need a four-day bender like the one Don goes on in the movie to forget that ass beating. If the 'Boys do actually manage to move on from that traumatic experience, they may meet the Patriots again next February. Yep. The NFC is that weak.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Chicago Bears) - Has Lovie Smith been pulling an R.P. McMurphy, or is he actually certifiably nuts? Not only did he possibly cost himself a Super Bowl by sticking with the Sex Cannon last year, he damn near put his job in jeopardy by rolling with him again early on this season. How in the hell did he not think Brian Griese was a better quarterback for this Bears team? Or for any team, for that matter? I seriously thought Rex blackmailed Lovie with incriminating sexual pictures of him and a cage full of baboons. That was the only way I could make sense of it.
Out of the Past (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - Damn. I love this noir joint, but I just realized how old it is. Kirk Douglas starred in this one -- when he was about half as old as Michael! But that's the story in Tampa right now. Chucky inexplicably brings QB Jeff Garcia back from the dead, who in turn brings the Bucs back from the dead. It's been a nice story, but this pirate ship has already seen most of the booty it will this season. (Because I have to ask, isn't Earnest Graham the whitest name ever? Even names like Barrett Ruud and Mike Alstott are more "hood" than Earnest Graham.)
Patriot Games (New England Patriots) - This latest Pats squad isn't playing around. Not only are they not playing, they are sniping out the opposition with proficiency typically reserved for Tom Clancy novels. Actually, Jack Ryan ain't got sh** on Tom Brady. Affleck, Baldwin and Ford could all hit the town together and still not pull as much wool as The Cleft Chin. I just don't see anything that can stop them right now. I'm not even sure a mash-up of the Colts' "O" and the Redskins' "D" could get the job done. I'm serious.
Pure Luck (Buffalo Bills) - Jesus, did this movie blow. So do the Bills. All I remember about this flick was Martin Short's face blowing up until it was Mark Mangino sized after he got stung by a bee. Judging by Kevin Everett's unfortunate accident, the Paul Pos-pos-what-the-hell-ever's injury and that wacky Monday Night Football game, the Bills luck is every bit as bad. Given their recent cost-cutting ways, don't expect their bad luck to change any time relatively soon. Oh, and is this really the team we want to encourage Canada to root for? Just a question.
Rambo (New York Jets) - Like the upcoming Stallone flick, we can already tell that the Jets are a complete and utter disaster. In fact, it's hard to even keep a straight face when discussing either the J-E-T-S or Sly these days. We won't truly be able to judge either product until January '08, but I'm betting big that we end up with two monumental flops.
Rear Window (Pittsburgh Steelers) - As good as the Stillers and their fans think they are, the team's best years are behind them. The Colts and the Pats wouldn't have dropped games to the Broncos and Cards. On a positive note, new head coach Mike Tomlin always looks fresh on the sidelines. My prescription: Less barbershop, more game film.
Romeo Must Die (Cleveland Browns) - This one was way, way too easy. So, yeah, the Browns are 3-3, but they got thumped by both of the good teams they played (the Pats and Steelers), and the rest of their schedule has been cupcake city. Besides, the Browns are winning games because they have awesome offensive talent (Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow, etc...), not because of defense. Last time I checked, Romeo was supposed to be some kind of defensive genius, too. He won't be able to defend what he's done in Cleveland when this season's over. I know that much.
The Saw Franchise (Houston Texans) - I'm not going to screw around here. Both of these franchises -- Saw and the Texans -- have been around for a good portion of this decade. Honestly, we'd probably be better off without 'em.
Stripes (Cincinnati Bengals) - Whether you're cutting up the cute little tiger stripes on their football unis or the stripes on their prison ones, the struggling Bengals are a riot. Wait. Don't take that literally, fellas. Especially you, Chris "Slash" Henry. He's about to make a comeback, so we have to start calling this guy Slash. I mean, when have we ever seen anybody display so much versatility when it comes to getting arrested? Screw Kordell (easy, Yancey Thigpen), Chris Henry is Slash.
The Usual Suspects (Baltimore Ravens) - Yes, the Ravens added Willis "Babymaker" McGahee to the roster this offseason. All that did was offset the loss of Adalius Thomas. Maybe. The rest of this team is the exact same as last year, except older and more brittle. Even with Brian Billick calling the plays, Kyle Boeller and an ancient Steve McNair are still Kyle Boeller and an ancient Steve McNair.
Vinny and the Pussycats (Carolina Panthers) - With all apologies to both John Fox and Steve Smith, I think the Panthers are pretenders. Both of their running backs are soft, and the team's best defensive player, Julius Peppers, is already a hasbeen at the age of 27. Besides, how far can the David Carr-Vinny Testaverde tandem really take you? A 4-2 farce.
The Wizard of Oz (Oakland Raiders) - As long as that crazy old man (Al Davis) is behind the curtain -- and I don't care if he's walking around like Osama on a dialysis machine, or propped up Weekend at Bernie's style -- this franchise is doomed. They can bring in all the pretty little Dorothys they want, but it won't change a thing. I'm not wishing anything on Al except many more years of happiness, but fans of the Silver and Black should be. He's completely lost it.