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Commentary From the Edge
Kevin Ratterree
November 9, 2004

Is God punishing us for watching football all day on Sunday by making the Sunday Night games unwatchable?  I mean I know he is punishing us with Joe Theisman and Paul Maguire, but man oh man......the wrath of Sunday Night Football is almost unbearable.  Punts, field goals, penalties, turnovers, and a mind numbing announcing crew do not make for good entertainment.  Could we please get some more drunk sideline guests like last year please. 

Just when I got used to pronouncing Ben Roethlisberger now I finally have to spell it.  I put it off as long as I could but it is clear he is here to stay.  He may not exactly be a fantasy powerhouse but shows every indication of being one of that rare breed known as the instinctive winner. 

 The Steelers dismantling of the 2 previously undefeated teams could turn out in the end to be just a football team peaking at just the right time only to fizzle in the end.  Most Pittsburgh fans would love to rip my face off at the mere mention of such an absurdity, but let's face it, this league is insane.  If the Steelers lost every game the rest of the way I would find it a bit curious but not really surprising.  And it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they swept all the way to the Superbowl, Big Ben is named MVP, and Pittsburgh changes the name of the city to Roethlisbergh.  I'll buy any script you sell me.  They do have that look though, don't they.

 I am becoming numb to the sensory overload the NFL provides.

Jerome Bettis basically said, "in your face" to all those fair weather fans who said he was done.  Okay Jerome.  We'll take that.  I'll own it.  But let's put things in perspective. 

Bettis was running on fresh legs against the week 9 legs of the Eagles. 

Bettis is running behind apparently the best offensive line the league. 

Let's not get too carried away beating people over the head with it, considering the circumstances.  I mean Ron Dayne could have run through some of those holes.  Jerome, you had a good game.  Congratulations.  Do it for the next 3 weeks in a row and we'll talk a punitive damages settlement in the form of self inflicted public humiliation by me in this column.  But as for right now I advise anybody with Bettis on their fantasy roster to unload him this week while his price is at peak.  (Unless you are in a TD only league of course)

While we are on the topic of the unlikely, lets talk San Diego Chargers.  Okay, the Steelers are a surprise to most.  But I would have bet two stones against the Chargers being the leagues top offensive powerhouse.  I have lambasted and baked Marty in this column for the last two years but at long last even Marty takes a turn at making me look like an idiot.  I had suggested that the coach's best coaching years were 10 years behind him, and the game had passed him by.  But a strange thing happened on the way to Marty's droning commentary reappearing on my television set every week.

After week 3 at 1-2 Drew Brees was twisting in the wind, and the Philip Rivers whispers were becoming shouts.  Antonio Gates became the second coming of Tony Gonzalez.  And they have the leagues best young running back running behind the leagues best fullback.  Oh yeah, and they are getting it done in the trenches of course.  Add that to the fact that Marty has publicly admitted that he and the team did everything wrong last year, and changed everything right down to the gate codes at the training facility.   DING!  Ladies and gentlemen, the next contender.  Marty, we never thought you had it in ya.  Change???!!! Marty?  Well I'll be damned.  Two stones I would have bet.

Unsolicited betting advice:  I have mentioned this before in this column, but it bears repeating.  One of my favorite bets is the halftime line bet.  But only in certain circumstances.  This weeks Monday night game was one of those circumstances.  The idea is to use the bookmakers knowledge against him.  Know your enemy.

Going into Monday night the point total line was a ridiculous 58 according to my source.  Not a number you like to touch even in a slugfest like this game promised to be.  But an interesting thing happened.  There were only 20 points in the first half.  Therefore, if you use the oddsmakers math before the game started, there were going to be 38 more points scored in the game.  The oddsmakers are pretty sharp.  They are usually very close.  But when they set the halftime line, they can't sell a 38.  So they set the line at 28.  With this10 point differential now you are in gravy territory.  You bet the over and collect your money.  Sweet bet.  It worked Monday night for me and it works almost every time I find such a glaring hole in the numbers.  Betting football games is hard.  You have to take the easy ones when they give them to you.  And, oh yeah there were 59 points scored in the game.


10) JETS:  A loss to the Bills is certainly reason for concern.  But the loss of Pennington for an extended period is reason for a coronary.  Luckily the Jets have 6 of the 10 wins they will need to make the playoffs.  The good news from a fantasy perspective is that Santana Moss finally joined the team.  The bad news is he was benched on 90% of fantasy teams by the time he paid off.

9) GIANTS:  Coming into this week I considered the Bears one of the worst teams in the league.  I also considered the Giants the team most likely to go into a tailspin after a surprising start.  Warner slipped into '02 Warner mode just long enough to get the ball rolling downhill.  And even the Bears are good enough to beat the '02 Warner.  The Giants loss of two defensive ends for the season would suggest Warner won't have the luxury of mistakes from here on out.  Look out below.

8) VIKINGS:  I figured the Vikings to be the second most likely team to go into the tank after a fast start. Let's face it, they have a history.  How important is Randy Moss to the success of this team?  They need him like a single guy in Bangkok needs a condom machine and a roll of quarters.   

7)  EAGLES:  First losses are often ugly at this point in the season, but this one was uglier than the look on your fiance's face when you tell her you want a pre-nup after she just worked your way through school.  Terrell.Owens got some of his own stuff crammed back in his face which ultimately led to him getting in McNabb's face.  Owens was upset because he did not get his big chance to pull out the ketchup bottle and chug it for the Heinz Field crowd.  Either that or he may be beginning to suspect McNabb is a homosexual.

6) SAINTS:  If you have been letting Donte Stallworth waste a space on your bench, I think it's safe to cut him loose if you want to find a waiver player that could actually help you.  If you have been waiting for Aaron Brooks to finally stop making bonehead plays, you need to start thinking about more realistic goals in your life.  If you have been thinking about breaking out the brown paper bags down in Nawlins' go ahead and break 'em out..

5) CHIEFS:   When Priest Holmes left the field Sunday he took Kansas City's clinging playoff hopes with him.  The Chiefs defense has become the leagues traveling practice squad making even the most impotent of offenses appear unstoppable.  This team will go down as the biggest waste of an offense since the Dan Fouts era Charger teams. 

4) COWBOYS:  Wow.  I thought Parcells would be able to rally this rag tag crew, but I don't think he has any more rabbits in his hat.  He needs to find and cut whoever is supplying the team with skunk weed.  This defense allowed a tight end named Schobel to score a 76 yard touchdown.  No tight end not named Gates or Gonzalez should be scoring 76 yard touchdowns, even against the Clownboys.

3) 49ers:  The good news is that with Rattay the team looks much better.  The bad news is the team is now merely bad instead of horrible.  

2) DOLPHINS:  When the Dolphins recovered an opening kickoff fumble and only got a field goal, and then scored a touchdown shortly afterward but missed the extra point, I think we could all smell it in the wind.  But when Sam Madison took an away from the play penalty on a 3rd and goal sack of McCown with 23 seconds on the clock the familiar stench overtook us. Wannstedt undoubtedly made the call to confirm the offer on the golf condo in Arizona after the game, and at this point it no doubt shall be a relief.  Dave, we know it isn't all your fault, but we can't very well fire the whole team now can we?  Or can we? 

1) BROWNS:  The Sunday Night game was like a Shiite sandwich.  Two exciting plays sandwiching a big steaming pile.  Which incidentally is the same substance the Browns hopes have turned to.