Week 3 Predictions and Thoughts on What Pro Athletes "Owe" Us
Friday, September 19, 2008 | Author: Mad Typist
Some brief notes from around the league, followed by my Week 3 picks, and then a discussion on what pro athletes "owe" to the game, their fans, and their teams.

There's an article up at ESPN.com about how Ed Hochuli remains devastated by his officiating mistake during the Broncos-Chargers game. I wrote about that in a previous post, but I do want to say that overall, Hochuli was and remains one of my favorite refs. What's impressive about him is how forthright he's been about the mistake. He admitted it immediately to Norv Turner, he admitted it to the fans (watching the game, he pretty clearly explained that he messed up but the rules prevented him from changing the initial call), he continues to apologize - not once did he try to excuse himself. People are human, they make mistakes. The test of a man is how he responds to that. I think Hochuli deserves a second chance. Let him atone by officiating the scrub games and then bring him back to the big matches next year (a suitable punishment might be having to officiate only Chiefs games for the whole year).

I agree with Michael Lombardi: Philly fans need to show Donovan McNabb more love. Key stat from that article - McNabb 114 touchdowns passes in the red zone with only seven interceptions in his entire career. That's money right there.

Week 3 Picks
  • Jets at Chargers*
  • Bengals at Giants*
  • Browns at Ravens* - while I thought it was unfair to judge the Browns - particularly the offense- by last week's performance (just how good CAN your passing game be in 40 mph winds?!), I'm still going with the Ravens here
  • Cardinals* at Redskins - Kurt Warner looks sharp so far, and if the Cards want to be legit contenders, they really need to win this game.
  • Chiefs at Falcons* - Darren McFadden tore up this defense last week, so here's a free fantasy tip: you MUST start Michael Turner this week
  • Cowboys* at Packers - I hope I'm wrong here, but it's folly to bet against the 'boys in September
  • Dolphins at Patriots*
  • Lions* at 49ers - I have a feeling that Kitna's going to step it up here, if only to save his starting job
  • Panthers* at Vikings - give me Delhomme and Steve Smith for the win
  • Raiders at Bills*
  • Rams at Seahawks* - ugh. Terrible game.
  • Saints at Broncos* - The Saints' secondary is terrible, and Jay Cutler's going to make them suffer by hitting Marshall and Royal for huge gains
  • Steelers at Eagles* - could go either way, but I'll go with the home team here
  • Texans at Titans* - like I said, I think the 2-0 Titans are a better team with Collins at the QB position
Slate.com has a fascinating article up entitled "Vince Young might not be cut out for the NFL - and that's okay". It does a good job explaining that a job in the NFL, while it seems on the surface to be a dream, is actually NOT all sunshine and roses. Definitely recommended reading.

It does bring up an interesting point though - I've often wondered how much of an obligation a player - particularly a very public, very well paid player like Young - has to the fans and the team he belongs to. On one hand, I sympathize with players who get booed by vicious fans, or who feel pressured to continue playing because of leeches around them (i.e. sponsors who threaten them if they don't continue to perform, family/friends who "depend" on them). On the other hand, a lot of us have jobs that we hate sometimes, and we're stuck in them for the next 30 years if we want to be safe, so it's hard to feel bad for someone who gets millions guaranteed to them, no matter how much they suck.

So, question - where is the line? When can we say a player has "given enough" to walk away with his head held high? Or does that the fact that a team gives a guy millions mean they can treat him however they want? Does the fact that my tax dollars are donated to building a new stadium for my hometeam (because God FORBID they sit in old hot tubs or have lockers that are too small) mean I can demand a certain level of excellence from them, that I can belittle and boo and scream if they don't perform?
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