espn.com Ali Contest
This year's NFL promises as much over-the-top acting and as many subplots and hokey lines as Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer gave us in "Top Gun," and the Kurt Warner and Jake Plummer situations are just the beginning. Page 2's Bill Simmons finds plenty of other parallels in the Secretly Terrible story of Maverick and Ice.
SIMMONS: TERRIBLY GOOD FOOTBALL




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Yes, the NFL season opens Thursday night in Washington, which makes Sept. 4 a red-letter day. But is it the best sports day of the year? Would you choose to live it over and over again as your own personal "Groundhog Day"? Jeff Merron presents Page 2's 10 Best Days of the Year.

Is It Contagious? Sportoon
Yes, that's Dustin Hoffman in "Outbreak," wearing the sort of protective gear we'll all need to defend ourselves against the dreaded pharyngitis epidemic that felled Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez.
Now that the preseason festivities are finished and the real games are beginning, Sportoon can turn its attention to the serious Xs and Os of the NFL. Page 2's Kurt Snibbe draws up some very special chalkboard plays.

THE DAILY QUICKIE
The Daily Quickie says Mo Alou's five-hit performance in a six-run comeback has the Cubbies rolling sevens in the playoff race. Plus, All Britney All the Time, more Manny, and NFL picks.


The Tigers are making a serious run at the Mets' modern-day record for most losses in a season by failing to measure up in every phase of the game. But are they so bad that they belong on our list of the worst group efforts in history?

10]  Makers of the IBM PCjr
IBM's first foray into the home PC market was an epic failure, as disk problems forced Big Blue to pull the jr off the market after 14 months.
9]  2002 U.S. Men's Basketball Team
Three losses and sixth place in the World Championships? Used to be the U.S. could win these tournaments with its eyes closed. But bad chemistry and roster holes embarrassed us all.
8]  Brains behind Premier smokeless cigarettes
R.J. Reynolds could see the anti-smoking writing on the wall way back in 1989. But five years in development and megamillions in research didn't get these ciggies lit.
  • GET THE FULL LIST


NFL FAVORITE LINE UNDERDOG O/U
Thursday Redskins 3 Jets 40½
Sunday Bills EV Patriots 46½
Sunday Browns Colts 45½
Sunday Packers 6 Vikings 46½
Sunday Cowboys 2 Falcons 36½
Sunday 49ers 7 Bears 40
Sunday Titans 3 Raiders 46½
Monday Eagles 3 Buccaneers 36
All Times ET | Bold indicates home team
Complete line


 
Got a comment about something you've seen on Page 2? Here's your chance to sound off to the editors and columnists. Plus, if you'd like to send an e-mail to The Sports Guy, here's your direct link to Bill Simmons.



TUESDAY MORNING QB
TMQ was uncannily accurate in his predictions a season ago. Can he match last year's haiku-water mark?

BALLPARK TOUR
Even with a losing team, a small crowd and damp weather, The Ballpark in Arlington ain't so bad.

THE HOT LIST
With the season about to open, Dan Shanoff has what's sizzling and fizzling in the NFL this year.

THE WATER COOLER
Page 2's Brian Murphy says that after what happened at Fenway Park this weekend, the whole world should come together.

MEET THE 'MAKERS'
Page 2's Bill Simmons says ESPN's "Playmakers" is worth watching, but several flaws keep it from being a great show.
If your favorite writer isn't on Page 2 today, click here to check out our full roster of columnists.


It's Red Sox Johnny Damon, left, and actor "Tattoo" of Fantasy Island, the late Hervé Villechaize. This match was requested by 6 Page 2 readers. Browse our archives of past pairs or click here to submit a future duo for Page 2.


PGA: Bell Canadian
3 p.m. ET, ESPN
Second round from Ancaster, Ontario.
 
Red Sox at Yankees
7 p.m. ET, ESPN
The drama continues.
 
WNBA Eastern Conf. Finals
8 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Game 1, Shock at Sun
 
• Complete TV Listings


If you missed Page 2 over the last week, check out our back issues:
• Wed., Sept. 3: Head Case
• Tue., Sept. 2: Poetry in Motion
• Mon., Sept. 1: Hot Flashes
• Fri., Aug. 29: One Nation, Divided

Other featured content:
• Ultimate Scorecard: 101 best uniform numbers
• The most underrated athletes of all time
• The most overrated athletes of all time
• Page 2's Top 10 Pop Icons
Thursday, Sept. 4, 2003
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