Are You Ready for Some Football?

by Marcel Mutoni

Let’s face it. The only thing that truly matters for the next two months can be found in the following three letters : N.F.L.

I hope you have your fantasy squad all set up. I’m ready to kick ass and take names in the Deadspin Pants Party league over at The regular season jumps off tomorrow night (NBC, 8:30 EST) as the Miami Dolphins visit the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

I recently had a chance to build with Unsilent Majority, a writer for Kissing Suzy Kolber–the hottest NFL site right now–and get his thoughts on the upcoming season.

SLAM: Is this whole T.O. situation being overblown by the media, or should Cowboy fans be legitimately concerned?
UM: Honestly I don’t think they are mutually exclusive, the hype is definitely out of control but some of it is warranted. When you combine an attention whore like TO with a hard ass like Bill Parcells you’re bound to encounter some tension. The mainstream sports media simply doesn’t have the willpower to stop themselves from building up the conflict to epic proportions. Simply put, TO and Parcells are both self-righteous pricks. Neither guy is eager to back down, however, both are driven to succeed and they are in a position to do so. They’re never going to have a good relationship but I don’t think this is headed for a Brown/Marbury ending. In the end TO will be the key member of the Cowboys offense, their success will hinge on his assimilation into the system.

What the hell is wrong with Peyton Manning? Will he ever get over the hump?
Peyton’s a bitch, it’s the same old story. I grew up a big Florida fan and I used to have the SI cover with Peyton wrestling an alligator. He never could beat Florida and he hasn’t done much better since then. Clearly he’s a great quarterback, but at some point you have to ask why the outcome of their past two seasons has been left to a “stupid kicker”. From my perspective it seems like they’re simply making lateral moves. While the defense has improved the loss of Edge will keep them from improving. It’s been his consistency and blocking ability that have allowed Peyton to thrive. There’s no reason to believe Peyton will be able to avenge his past this season.

You’re a big Redskins fan : Have they made enough improvements to get them to the next level? How close are they to being legitimate Super Bowl contenders?
They were a legitimate Super Bowl contender before all of the additions were made. Considering their performance down the stretch last season you have to consider them a threat. The defense has improved, and they were a top ten unit last year.

The offense definitely needed some more weapons to carry them past teams like Seattle and Carolina. With their new offense and revamped group of wide receivers they have a great shot to win the division and challenge anybody in the conference playoffs.

Most critics have questioned Brunell’s ability to get the ball down field. While he has lost considerable speed on his out routes he is still able to get it over the top (see Cowboys, Dallas). The real strength of the passing is going to be short routes where Moss, Randle El, Lloyd, and Cooley are able to create space in the open field. The new three wide system will make it impossible to put eight in the box against Portis.

Switching gears a bit : How do you think the Washington Wizards will fare this upcoming season? Did it bother you that Agent Zero was left off the Team USA squad?
There’s no question I was disappointed when Gil got cut from the National team. He is as hard working and humble as any star the NBA has seen in a while. It doesn’t seem logical to leave a guy like that off of a team that purports to base itself on dedication and hard work. Of course there’s an open spot for guys like Kobe to step in at their convenience, otherwise Phil Knight might throw a hissy fit. All this will do is motivate Gil to work even harder. Against Greece they could have used Gil’s creativity and shooting ability to eclipse the 100 point barrier, unfortunately he was never given a chance.

As for the games that matter, I believe Les Boullez will improve a bit on their performance from last season. The main reason they couldn’t lock up a top four seed is because Antonio Daniels struggled for the first six weeks. When Jarvis went down AD’s role on the team became even more crucial, once he got comfortable they looked like a real playoff team.

Assuming Etan doesn’t throw out his back at a poetry slam their depth could actually become an asset. The selection of Oleksiy surprised me a bit. He does have size but for the upcoming season I’d rather have Rajon Rondo or Shannon Brown coming off the bench. Another year in the system should be enough to ensure growth from core group. What I’m looking forward to is the emergence of Andrey Blatche. His second season should bring more minutes and responsibility. From everything I’ve seen he’s fully capable of becoming a regular in the rotation…he just needs to heed the Wizznutzz advice and stay away from Party John Ramos.

Seriously, how measty is this NFL season going to be? What should we be looking forward to?
Measty…that word still sounds dirty to me. Big Daddy Drew definitely has an an eye for potential. I’ve got a feeling that we’re on the brink of a great season, then again I feel that way every Labor Day. Once again we’ve got a great set of subplots to watch for their pure entertainment value. In addition to the requisite Peyton collapse and the potential for an Owens/Parcells slap-fight there are a few division races that bound to come down to the last two weekends. Although the NFC has gotten a bad reputation over the past few seasons (rightfully so) the competitive balance in the South and East should make for some great battle. Aside from the Redskins I’m most looking forward to Brett Favre’s assault on the all-time interception record. His Icharus-like decent from greatness just seems to make me laugh.

What can we expect from KSK this season?
Basically we’re going to cover our favorite aspects of the league. We’ll have regular features on subjects like gambling and fantasy advice, of which you probably shouldn’t take us too seriously (we don’t). Above all, we’re in this for the funny, we enjoy the hell out of the game and all of the crazy shit that goes with it.

The truly great stories in the NFL can never be predicted. Last year everybody got to enjoy those lesbian cheerleaders and Bryant McKinnie’s oral repertoire. Every week our readers can look forward to full coverage of all the moments that we find worthy of our consideration. Of course the moments we choose to spotlight will be quite a bit different from what you see from SI and the Worldwide Leader. Above all you can expect us to lighten the mood of a league that takes itself far too seriously…I’m looking at you Joe Buck.