Before we get started, I'd like to say something about David Foster Wallace. David Foster Wallace, Illinois' own, is the best writer I've ever read who I found completely unreadable. I don't mean his non-fiction stuff that had the benefit of editors who, strangely, had a desire for people who read their magazine to understand what their writers were saying. I mean the fiction. Every word I read of Wallace's fiction was brilliant ... and I have absolutely no idea what was going on. If someone told you in the last few days that they actually read all of Infinite Jest, that person is either lying, or insane. Or both. This is not meant to be an insult to Wallace. The man truly was a genius. Unfortunately, I'm not a genius. He'll be missed. In his honor, I plan to, once again, crack open Infinite Jest, make it about 15 pages in, then give up (again) and start reading that copy of Star (again). Time to hop into rankings land. 32. St. Louis Rams (0-2). So here's a great bit from Bernie Miklasz in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: It turns out that, an hour after the Rams' second-consecutive immolation, team employees had to host a remembrance of Georgia Frontiere. They actually scheduled that after a game? Can you imagine losing by 28 points at home and then having to schmooze with relatives of your late owner? God. The Rams are now the football equivalent of the Edward Jones Dome. 31. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2). If the Bengals don't sneak past the Browns in a couple of weeks, they are in serious danger of starting the season 0-15. Seriously: Look at the schedule. 30. Kansas City Chiefs (0-2). Fun fact about Tyler Thigpen, that weird name that kept popping up on the CBS scrawl Sunday: He is not only the best quarterback in Coastal Carolina history ... he's the first quarterback in Coastal Carolina history. (They just started football in 2003.) The Chanticleers are a freaking quarterback factory.
29. Detroit Lions (0-2). Speaking of local columnists, here's Mitch Albom on the Lions last week: "Honestly, this franchise should rename itself 'Disneyland.' It guarantees a magical time." Not to oversell this, but I think Morrie's corpse just shot itself in the head.
28. Miami Dolphins (0-2). Every time CBS would show Johnny Depp during the Dolphins-Buzzsaw game on Sunday, they would refer to him as "an avid Miami Dolphins supporter." I highly, highly doubt Johnny Depp is a football fan. I mean, the guy owns a vineyard in France. He probably thought he was at a Dogstar show. 27. Seattle Seahawks (0-2). I haven't had the heart to check in with Ufford about what's happening to this team. Well, at least the Mariners are good. 26. Oakland Raiders (1-1). I'd like to take this moment to congratulate Sebastian Janikowski on his graduation to the top tier of NFL kickers. He's come a long way from his days as a date rape drug obsessive. Good for him! 25. San Francisco 49ers (1-1) . There are three NFC West teams among the eight worst teams in the NFL. And I still don't think the Buzzsaw is winning this division. 24. Houston Texans (0-1). I don't know about you, but I had three different people in the fantasy league I run send me indignant emails about the Ravens-Texans game being canceled. Guys, seriously: It's a Yahoo league. And I'm just the guy who sent you the invite and set the draft date. I am not Roger Goodell. If I were Roger Goodell, I would suspend you. 23. New York Jets (1-1). It seemed so weird, still, to have Brett Favre playing for a team other than the Packers until his dead duck interception yesterday. It was like hearing Keith Richards pound out the "Satisfaction" riff for the millionth time, wasn't it?
22. Cleveland Browns (0-2). I couldn't quite tell from CBS' feed, but I think I caught gyrating on the sidelines in anticipation of taking over the starting job here in a couple of weeks. Ultimately, grinding against Romeo Crennel might have been a bit much. 21. Atlanta Falcons (1-1). Matt Ryan has a marketing deal with Nike. Did you realize this? You would think these guys would have learned their lesson with Falcons quarterbacks. By the way, Vick's coming up to the end of his first year in jail. He's almost halfway there!
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2). I am absolutely not telling you who I picked to the win the Super Bowl this year. 19. Washington Redskins (1-1). You know what? Screw off, Daulerio. I know I wanted to see Chris Cooley's "accidental" penis. Who's with me?
18. Baltimore Ravens (1-0). Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo called this scenario "the worst bye week in bye-week history," after Hurricane Ike "MADE YOU, TINA!" pounded Texas this week. I would like to disagree; any week that I don't have to watch the Baltimore Ravens is a perfectly fine bye week.
17. Minnesota Vikings (0-2). Absolutely no excuse for them to lose that game. I didn't have the heart to ask Drew how he was handling it. By the way, I'm proud to note that I have read Men With Balls, and I'm not giving away too much to say that Chris Cooley's penis is featured on 14 different pages. Hope you're ready for the angry text messages, Drew. 16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1). Funniest sentence on Brian Griese's Wikipedia page: "On March 21, 2006, he signed a five year contract with the Chicago Bears." Ha. Hahahahahaha. Did you know that Brian Griese played in a Pro Bowl? Seriously. 15. The Buzzsaw That Is The Arizona Cardinals (2-0). Nope. Not buying it. 14. Chicago Bears (1-1). Every single Bears game this season is going to be won or lost in the final two minutes. This theoretically makes them the most exciting team in the NFL. Practically speaking, it does not quite play that way. 13. New Orleans Saints (1-1). How out of it am I? Watching the Redskins-Saints game on Sunday, a friend of mine said, "Man, it seems strange that Reggie Bush would still be having sex with Kim Kardashian." And I said, "Who?" Honestly, I'd never once heard the name "Kim Kardashian" in my entire life. I am still not quite sure what this Kim Kardashian does. Wasn't that one of OJ's lawyers? I need to watch more television, I think.
12. San Diego Chargers (0-2). Yes, yes, the bad whistle call was a mistake. But honestly, now: Does the win over the Colts in the playoffs really protect Norv Turner THAT much? I mean, the Chargers are 0-2! That team! 0-2! I'm kind of hoping Norv challenges Ed Hochuli to a fight. 11. Carolina Panthers (2-0). Last May, Steve Smith announced he was working as an intern in a Morgan Stanley office in Charlotte. So, in other words, his suspension is ending just in time. 10. Tennessee Titans (2-0). I know we haven't heard from Kige "Host/Executive producer/set designer/camera operator/writer" Ramsey in a while, but christ, he's gotta be losing his mind right now, right? 9. Indianapolis Colts (1-1). When the Colts came back to win Sunday, I attempted to guess what Peter King was going to write about Peyton Manning in MMQB. I came up with, "Peyton simply WOULD NOT LET HIS TEAM LOSE." I was close.
8. Denver Broncos (2-0). I never tire of remind everyone of the real Jay Cutler.
7. Green Bay Packers (2-0). Speaking of Peter King: "Aaron Rodgers throws with more velocity now than Favre does." You SLUT! That said, we do get some local color: "Brett's a little more loose in there. You know, not that Aaron's tight; he's fine. But Brett was passing gas in the huddle.'' Sometimes it must suck to play in the NFL. 6. Buffalo Bills (2-0). Wait until that inspiring moment, halfway through the season, when Luke Russert carries Kevin Everett to the 50-yard line, and then inhales a Beef On Weck. Not a dry eye, I tell you.
5. New England Patriots (2-0). I love how Randy Moss was all, "Yeah, you forgot about us, fuckers!" after the Jets win, playing the idiotic "respect" card. Dude, you caught two passes for 22 yards. No reason to go running over any cops or anything. By the way, when researching Moss' famous "bumping" of the cop car, I came across this column from Sean Salisbury about Randy Moss. Signature line: "Randy Moss' arrest not only shows a continuing lack of maturity, but also a lack of accountability among athletes in general. At times many athletes think the world revolves around them — they are first and everyone else is second." So true, Sean. That man knows how to be accountable. 4. New York Giants (2-0). Watching Eli Manning "improvise" by throwing with his left hand Sunday was like watching your two year old pop his first wheelie on his bike. It's cute and all, and you're kind of proud of him ... but let's never, ever see that again. Listening to Eli talk, actually, inspires something similar. 3. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1). This month, The Atlantic Monthly has a great story about watching film of the 1958 NFL Championship game with Eagles coach Andy Reid. It's a compelling piece, full of fun detail about Reid, who seems to enjoy football more than everything else in the world combined. Which is good, because the world of football would not benefit from a raging heroin addiction. 2. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0). Sunday's night game was proof that, when played in 60 miles-per-hour winds, football is an excruciatingly boring game. 1. Dallas Cowboys (2-0). It's pretty amazing how Terrell Owens has remained an elite player, even into his mid-thirties. It speaks to his conditioning and his devotion. But is it just me, or is his face starting to look stranger as he gets older? It's like his head is flattening out and widening. I'm not sure what's going on there.