- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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Looking for gift items for the NFL fan on your list?
You’re in luck! Monday isn’t just a battle between the Panthers and Eagles, the preseason’s premier Super Bowl/dynasty teams, it’s also Cyber Monday -- the day in which Americans pretend to work at their desks while they’re actually buying things online. (This is different than all other workdays in America, in which Americans pretend to work at their desks while actually just looking at things online.)
The NFL’s official online store, NFLShop.com, has great deals for every NFL fan!
For just $24.99, these Kansas City Chiefs scrubs are perfect for a nurse who's a Chiefs fan, or simply for any Chiefs fan who wants to make a commentary on the state of the team!
Can you spend only $12? These vintage Cleveland Browns shot glasses can help the Browns fan on your list drink until he passes out and dreams he's back in the glory days of the 1950s, instead of in an era in which beating a Charlie Batch-quarterbacked team at home is the highlight of the season!
Know a Pittsburgh Steelers fan who values authenticity? These $99.95 Nike Vapor Jet 2.0 gloves are the very same gloves the Steelers use to fumble! Now your friend or loved one can fail just like the pros!
Are there New York Jets fans in your life? Are they still in the mood to celebrate the holidays? Really? Amazing. Well, you can cater to their no-doubt somber mood by purchasing something from the all-black Jets collection. Tell them to wear it to their team’s funeral!
For the Jacksonville Jaguars fan, why not buy them a Jaguars DVD? The first two listed on the team’s DVD page are “NFL Greatest Follies” and “NFL’s Funniest Players.” Either one should work just fine.
No Oakland Raiders fan can live without this Raiders toaster. For only $39.99, it’s like bringing Oakland’s secondary to your kitchen!
The San Diego Chargers fan may appreciate these $29.99 Zubaz pants, which will take them back to the early '90s -- back when having Norv Turner as a head coach might have filled them with hope.
You can find plenty of great deals for the Philadelphia Eagles fan in the team store’s clearance section. And keep refreshing -- soon Andy Reid might be available!
Last but not least, the Dallas Cowboys fan. We all know one. Or did. There aren’t as many as there once were. Anyway, no doubt Cowboys fans would like something from here.
Quote of the Week
“We'll look at the game [tape], we'll make the best decision for us going forward." -- Jim Harbaugh, on who will start at quarterback for the 49ers next week
That seems an impartial way to do it. I have some of the game tape here. Let’s take a look.
Mobility: Colin Kaepernick moved well and made throws out of the pocket and on the run; he also ran for 27 yards and a touchdown. Alex Smith looked like a statue and just stood there. Advantage: Kaepernick.
Production: Kaepernick led three scoring drives. He also had one bad turnover. Smith didn’t turn the ball over once, but he also didn’t complete a single pass. Advantage: Kaepernick.
Arm Strength: Smith clutched the neck of his jersey for much of the game and was never seen lifting any heavy objects or even a clipboard. Whereas here’s tight end Vernon Davis after the game on Kaepernick: “The velocity of the ball is so much different from Alex's ball. You really have to get your head turned around faster and make plays. He's definitely got a stronger arm." Ouch. Hey, 49ers. Pssst. Alex can hear you! He’s in the same locker room. Remember to consider people’s feelings. Advantage: Kaepernick.
Annnnnnnnd … decision made. The game film doesn’t lie. Kaepernick will start again.
At least Harbaugh gave him a fair shot. Smith simply didn’t pop on Sunday’s tape. He has only himself to blame.
Stat of the Week
NFL kickers made only 36 of 49 field goal attempts on Sunday: 73.4 percent. The league average for the season is 84.1 percent. These little people must remember that it’s the Christmas season. Santa is watching. If they are bad, NO TOYS!
Misleading Stat of the Week
Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for 253 yards on Sunday to give him 2,373 on the season, pushing him past Dan Marino’s 2,210-yard total in 1983 to set a new franchise record for passing yards by a rookie. You’ve finally done it, Dolphins! It’s official: After 13 years of searching, you’ve found your new Dan Marino! Pop the champagne!
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I was being sarcastic. No one is comparing Tannehill to Marino quite yet. And that’s not champagne you popped. Those are sprinklers. You still have a lot of work to do.
This Week’s Horrible Fantasy Team That Crushed Your Team
Eli Manning, QB, Giants: 16-for-30, 249 yards, 3 TD
Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots: 133 total yards, TD
Michael Bush, RB, Bears: 21 carries, 60 yards, 2 TD
Chris Givens, WR, Rams: 5 catches, 115 yards, TD
Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins: 5 catches, 93 yards, TD
Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens: 6 catches, 42 yards, TD
Photos of the Week
Press Conference Questions Someone Should Have Asked
Mike Tomlin -- “Did your running backs and receivers decide to play like third-stringers to make Charlie Batch feel comfortable?”
Norv Turner -- “Will you work on your fourth-and-29 defense in practice this week?”
Pete Carroll -- “After a long, cross-country trip to Miami and another road game next week, what are the best legal ways your players can keep up their strength?”
Reader Twitter Question of the Week
@djgalloespn With the Steelers so good at turnovers, what other pastries should they focus on next?
— Kyle Cronin (@KyleCronin74) November 25, 2012
I don’t know about pastries, but if you like desserts, you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten Mike Wallace’s fast-and-easy drop cookies. Nothing is more delicious to eat when you’re waiting for a huge free-agent contract that will never come!
ELITE Quarterback of the Week
Is Ricky Ray ELITE?
Evidence for him: He has now won three championships, as many as Tom Brady and Troy Aikman, and he has a career quarterback rating of 96.4. Also, you can’t spell HOORAY without RAY.
Evidence against him: Those are Grey Cup championships, and the Canadian Football League probably figures quarterback ratings in some weird Canadian way with a messed-up exchange rate. Worst of all, he was once cut by the New York Jets, the absolute lowest a professional quarterback can go. Also, you can’t spell DISARRAY without RAY.
Five Things I Think I’m Thankful to Think I Thought
1. Last week in this very space I wrote this: “It’s time for an enterprising, young Cardinals fan to start a single-serving website called IsAnyoneDecentThrowingPassesToLarryFitzgerald.com. It would take 10 minutes to start and would require zero upkeep because the front page will read always -- sadly -- NO.” Within hours, a young, enterprising fan named Luke Mitchell had created the Internet’s No. 1 new sports destination.
One week in, the site has somehow become even more relevant, thanks to Ryan Lindley's throwing four interceptions in Arizona’s loss to the Rams; Fitzgerald had three receptions. Lindley also threw two pick-sixes to St. Louis cornerback Janoris Jenkins; Fitzgerald hasn’t had two touchdowns in a game in more than a year. Time to check IsAnyoneDecentThrowingPassestoLarryFitzgerald.com again. Nailed it.
With this important website now online, it’s time to unleash Hangover readers on new projects. For next week, I want an enterprising, young reader to start IsAdrianPetersonStillWithoutAQB.com and/or create a clean, free and abundant energy source that the entire world can use, spurring freedom, peace and economic stability across the globe.
2. Thanks to Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October and Movember in November, the average NFL player now spends half the NFL season looking absolutely ridiculous. Wait. Before you take up your pitchforks and set my house ablaze for being pro-cancer, let me explain: (A) I’m pretty sure no one is pro-cancer, at least I hope not; and (B) both causes are great. But if you look at an NFL field and divorce the pink and mustache looks from their causes, an NFL uniform covered in pink accents and men wearing... let’s say “adult film-style” facial hair... are absurd looks.
And I think it’s fantastic.
We should be forcing NFL players into looking ridiculous all season for our amusement -- and for charity. September and December are just sitting there, waiting to be filled with special months. I say we should make September into ASPCA month, in which NFL players play with their faces painted to look like cats or dogs. And December could be NHL awareness month, in which NFL players play in hockey pants and hockey helmets to remind people that the NHL still exists.
It’s perfect. NFL players raise awareness and money for more causes and successfully play an entire season without once taking the field looking normal.
3. Boomer Esiason in the CBS pregame show on Sunday: “There are elite quarterbacks, and then there are super-elite quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers is a super-elite quarterback.” Good job, everyone. We’ve so overused “elite” that it now means nothing, forcing Esiason and everyone else to make up new terms. We have to say “super-elite” to make the point that someone is elite, which means nothing now, meaning “super-elite” will soon mean nothing once it’s overused like “elite.” Got it? Great. You are super-elite at following along. (As of this writing, that is still a compliment.)
2017 quarterback discussion: “Tom Brady is mega-ultra-super-max-elite to the nth degree. Yes, he is having the worst season of his career and it may be time to retire.”
4. “Hey, coach. Got your voicemail again. Anyway, I’m watching this 49ers game and they’re playing their backup. He’s more mobile than the starter and throws the ball really hard. And San Francisco seems to be better with him playing. Well, I just thought it was interesting and wondered if you were watching the game. Have a good night. Oh, this is Tim. God bless.”
5. But what do you think you think about Ndamukong Suh kicking Matt Schaub in the crotch? Already wrote about that, friend.
Playoff Elimination Obituary Watch
This week the Kansas City Chiefs became the first team to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. At 1-10, at best they could tie Pittsburgh or Cincinnati at 6-10 for the last wild-card spot... only they have already lost to both teams so, alas, the Chiefs are not postseason bound. Amazing, but true.
2012 Kansas City Chiefs: July 28 to Nov. 25, 2012
The 2012 Kansas City Chiefs passed away on Sunday after a long and terribly fought battle with total football incompetence. They were surrounded by 74,244 once-loving but increasingly angry fans. The team was born in training camp in St. Joseph, Mo., on July 28. It won its first preseason game and amazingly won a regular-season game in overtime in Week 3. It also had a lead in regulation for the first time in Week 10, which it blew. The Chiefs are remarkably survived by coach Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli. In lieu of flowers, please send scouting reports on 2013 NFL draft-eligible quarterbacks.