- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 5, 2002

Another NFL season is upon us. In fact, tonight, we've got the Early Bird Special 49ers at Giants, the league's first weekday start since the dropkick days. With that in mind, I bring you an assortment of predictions, near certainties and wishful thoughts about the year ahead, leavened (hopefully) by liberal amounts of tomfoolery. Why don't we begin with 10 Things That Will Happen in the NFL This Season:

1. The Vikings will throw three out of every four passes Randy Moss' way and he'll still find something to complain about.

2. Drew Bledsoe will get the last laugh in Buffalo.

3. The Eagles cheerleaders will change into and out of their costumes at home instead of at the stadium.

4. Not a single person will say, "Whatever happened to Albert Connell?"

5. Stephen Davis will give himself a Rustoleum sponge bath after every game.

6. Bill Romanowski, unleashing the Raider within, will be the first NFL player to be charged with attempted homicide (stemming from an on-field

dent against his old club, the Broncos).

7. Deion Sanders will bring the same insight to CBS' pro football coverage that he brought to the Miss USA pageant.

8. The Rams will be forced to punt at least seven times.

9. Lions GM Matt Millen will activate himself if the Lions lose their first 12 games again.

10. Patrick Ramsey will start the season finale for the Redskins at quarterback, provided they've been eliminated from playoff contention.

10 Things That Won't Happen in the NFL This Season:

1. Tank McNamara won't be admitted to the press box at FedEx Field unless he submits to a full cavity search.

2. Panthers QB Chris Weinke, upset over losing the starting job to Rodney Peete, won't phone Florida State to see if, at age 30, he has any college eligibility left.

3. LaVar Arrington won't get quite as many sacks as Marvin Lewis envisioned, but he will get more than he did last year (½).

4. The Patriots won't repeat as champs. (Not because they're not good, just because they're not that good.)

5. John Madden won't be nearly as successful on "Monday Night Football" as a commentator as he was as a coach (11-1-1 with the Raiders).

6. And Ricky Williams won't be the answer in Miami any more than he was in New Orleans.

7. The Jaguars won't have any more injuries resulting from a fondue pot. (They had two in the offseason, to punter Chris Hanson and kicker Jaret Holmes.)

8. Antwaan Randle El won't change his name to Antwaan Randle W if he spurs the Steelers to a string of victories.

9. A club won't award its stadium naming rights to a dot-com company this season, or ever again.

10. Dan Snyder and Art Modell won't exchange holiday greetings.

10 Things I Wish Would Happen in the NFL This Season:

1. That as he approached Walter Payton's all-time rushing record (16,726 yards), Emmitt Smith would change his number from 22 to 34 (worn by the late Payton). No one on the Cowboys roster has been assigned the latter, so it wouldn't be hard to do.

2. That Congress would declare Bill Cowher's chin a national monument.

3. That seriously deluded Tony Gonzalez would have a crummy season for the Chiefs, receive no free agent offers and live out his days as the 12th man on the New Jersey Generals.

4. That NCWO head Martha Burk would try to blackmail the NFL into hiring women players.

5. That the Arizona Cardinals, still confused about realignment, would show up in New York on Dec.15 for their rematch against the Giants even though they have no rematch against the Giants (and are supposed to be in St. Louis that day for a Sunday nighter).

6. That Michael Strahan and Warren Sapp would settle their differences over Strahan's sack "record" by meeting in a pay-per-view wrestling match.

7. That previous record holder Mark Gastinueau would be on the undercard, fighting Fridge Perry in a six-rounder.

8. That Ben Gay, cut by the Browns and Colts, would pursue a career as an athletic trainer.

9. That Darrell Green would do something in his final game to tell the grandkids about.

10. And finally, that the Giants-49ers opener would be exciting enough to convince the league to begin its season on a Wednesday next year.

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