Monday, December 29, 2008


Chad, Bill & Poetic Justice

Not so much football stuff around RT this year, given how big politics was. However, I couldn't let the regular season end without a couple of reflections concerning one of the local teams -- and related matters.

Who would have thought that the biggest winner of the big Green Bay Packers-New York Jets Brett Favre trade would be -- the Miami Dolphins!?!?

Both the Packers and the Jets miss the playoffs: The Packers went from playing in the NFC championship game to a 6-10 record.

And Chad Pennington -- discarded by the Jets --leads a team that went 1-15 a year ago, returns to the Meadowlands, beats his former team and lays claim to the AFC East title!!! To paraphrase Barack Obama, only in American sports is such a story even possible!

Look, I'm a Jets fan. I was ecstatic over the Favre trade. But, even at the time, I was wistful over the departure of Chad Pennington. Chad was the anti-Favre. In the media spotlight of New York, he always kept a low profile. He didn't have a rocket arm. But all he did -- in the limited context of the New York Jets -- was win. Every year he was completely healthy, he took the Jets to the playoffs. Indeed, he's the only quarterback to take Gang Green to the playoffs three times. Oh, and the last time the Jets won the AFC East -- 2002, when they won the division on the last game of the season, beating, yep, Bret Favre and the Green Bay Packers.

Cheers to Chad Pennington. I wish him well during the AFC playoffs.

The fact that the Dolphins managed to edge out the New England Patriots is all the sweeter! Indeed, here's an interesting fact. Except for the New York Giants (NFC East champions with home-field advantage through the playoffs), every one of Miami Dolphins VP of football operations Bill Parcells' former teams missed the playoffs this year! Jets (1997-2000 -- the last year as GM only, when he first drafted Pennington) -- out. Patriots (1993-1997) -- out (even with an 11-5 record). And, sweetest of all, Dallas (2003-2006) -- out (and, by the way, Terrell Owens -- the Philadelphia Eagles in)! Bill Parcells may not be the patron saint of poetic justice, but he seems to play him in the NFL.

Of course, Parcells -- being Parcells -- may decided one year in Miami is enough: There's a report that he has an opt-out clause that could have him leaving Miami for...Detroit? Oakland? the Jets again? Who knows? Regardless, the NFL's ultimate turn-around artist could walk with his $12 million fully guaranteed -- and be a free-agent again! Parcells, coming back to the Jets? Could it be? Would him coming in -- with Eric Mangini blessedly gone -- be enough to get Favre to stick around for another year? Dare we to dream?

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