Christmas Gifts for the NFL
by Bill Smith
I have some gift ideas for those of you that need to buy something for the NFL player, coach or administrator that has everything.
TO Romeo Crennel, the ex-coach of the Browns: A fire extinguisher. Given how hot your seat has been after the abysmal season you perpetrated on Browns fans, you need it. You are a nice guy but nice guys finish last. And the Tans are last after they lost to the Bagels and to Pittsburgh while Cincy beat KC. By the way, your back pants pocket is currently smoldering.
TO Phil Savage, GM of the Browns: An email editing program to delete expletives from your responses to fans and a financial advisor to help you invest your contract payoff. You really need to get a grip. The fans are your customers and we pay your salary. Before you write another email that would choke a dock worker, take a moment to appreciate your life. You may not have any job for quite awhile so spend your money wisely.
TO Mike Brown, owner of the Cincinnati Bagels: A long distance calling card. Face it, you are going to need it to find someone—anyone with football scouting ability that is willing to work for an idiot son of a Hall of Fame father. I feel sorry for Paul Brown. He must be spinning at 5000 rpm in his grave.
TO Al Davis, owner of the Raiders: A dump truck load of common sense. Al, who do you think will take the coaching job once you fire Cable? When the team stinks for a decade, the problem is not the players—they come and go. Its not the coaches. In Oakland they are like paper towels—strong and disposable. It is the owner. Put one of the other partners into your chair and stop aggravating the Raiders fans. Having seen that group, I wouldn’t want to be on their bad side.
TO Rod Marinelli, ex-coach of the Lions: A warm hug because if anyone needs one he does. He has been trying to fight the football equivalent of the Nazi tank blitz with the Polish army on horseback. You put up a gallant but hopeless fight. The problems weren’t your fault but that doesn’t pay the bills.
TO Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys: 10 prepaid sessions with a media consultant. Jerry, you can not throw one of the few guys on the team with toughness under the team bus. And every time you try to make up for it, you make it worse. It is bad enough to put your foot in your mouth. What is inexcusable is to jam your foot down the throat of your best player.
TO Wade Phillips, head coach of the Cowboys: A prepaid contract with an executive search firm and the phone number of a good Realtor. He took over the D and it is playing better but now the O is a concern. Wade, since you didn’t make the playoffs, you may need both soon no matter what Jerry tells you. You may find it necessary to change your name and move out of state. There will be a lot of crazy fans looking for you in Texas. And most of them are armed.
TO Mike Holmgren Seahawks ex-coach: A one way ticket to Cleveland. That isn’t so much a gift for him as it would be for Browns fans. He wants to coach again and Seattle management has indicated they are ready to move on. Browns fans are tired of being the training ground for pro coach want-to-bes. What we need is a pro coach with experience. Mike, come to a town that would welcome you with open arms. Being by the lake we have all of the water with much less rain.
TO Mike Shanahan Broncos head coach: A running back made of something more substantial than crystal. He has lost a covey of running backs. This year they have dropped like leaves in the fall. Perhaps Santa can put a healthy and effective back in Mike’s stocking. Of course that would be a pretty big stocking.
TO Kurt Warner, star QB of the Cardinals: The respect and love you deserve with a contract on a team that is ready to win. Anyone that watched Warner play last year with one arm after another brain cramp by the O line injured his left arm has to have a ton of respect for the guy. He deserves another MVP, a yellow Hall of Fame jacket, and a shot an one more Super Bowl. How do you feel about living in Minnesota? The weather is worse than Arizona but they play more than half their games inside.
TO Plaxico Burris, wounded former WR of the Giants: A trip to Oz to ask the Wizard for some brains. Guns don’t kill people—idiots with guns do. If you are not smart enough to put the safety on before you jam a loaded gun in your pants, you deserve to get your ****s shot off.
TO Terrell Ownes, WR and crier in chief of the Cowboys: A passing only football league that allows only one receiver on the field at a time. That would be the only place you could play and be happy.
TO Donavon McNabb, Eagle QB: A copyright on the phrase “Kolb? How do you like me now?” If you get run out of town, you will need a lot of bumper stickers with that printed on them. Forget selling soup, the Philly market for those will pay you more.
TO Braylon Edwards, the Monday night only WR for the Browns: A 20 session contract with a shrink along with the bill. Given the way you played this year, you deserve to pay $250 an hour to hear some ask “and how do you feel about that?”
TO Joe Thomas, pro bowl (??) tackle of the Browns: 1 million thank you notes for all those misguided people that voted for you. Of course, you might have already paid them to do it.
TO LaDainian Tomlinson, running back for the Chargers: 1 million sympathy cards with postage to say how sorry you are for killing their fantasy football seasons. We all drafted you with the first pick and got squat for our trouble. To tell you how bad it was, we had to start Pierre Thomas in your place to win the game in week 15.
TO Jason Peters, pro bowl (????) tackle for the Bills: A quart of oil for your turnstile pass blocking technique. To steal a phrase from ESPN “Com-on man!” You should be duct taped to a chair and be forced to watch all of the games you played this year. Here is an idea—if you want to make more money, play like you deserve it. After the season you played, your value has gone way down. While name recognition may have gotten you votes for the pro bowl, the owners aren’t fooled.
TO Ben Roethlisberger, Steeler QB: A really good medical plan. If your propensity for riding motorcycles and bad luck in general were not enough, you have gotten hit more an baseball at batting practice.
TO A.J. Smith, general manager of the Chargers: A do-over approved by the NFL. You decided to keep an aging Tomlinson and let Michael “Burner” Turner go as a free agent? What were you thinking? Tomlinson has struggled to get to a thousand yards this year and is averaging less than 4 yards a carry. Turner has a shot at 1700 yards and is averaging well over 4 a carry with 15 touchdowns.
TO Cleveland Tan fans: A bottle of your favorite adult beverage—make that a couple of cases. As a life long Browns fan, I want Bill Cowher to coach this team as much as anyone. But he is getting a couple of million dollars a year for working 23 days. That is a hard gig to give up. Besides, I am not sure we should trust the sanity of anyone that would sign up to try to make a team out of this group of head cases and miss-fits.
And finally TO Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL: A reasonable deal with the players. Somewhere there must be a compromise to split the billions of dollars that the Golden Goose known as the NFL generates. Figure one out and get the deal done. No one wants to see a strike filled with replacement players.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent.
Check out his new site FryingpanSports.com! He currently is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and his articles appear at . He has also published several novels on and edits