Note: A computer-related fiasco wiped out my column notes this morning, so let's break the emergency glass and open up the mailbag this week. Thanks to all who contributed. The robots will never win.
As much as it pains this Jets fan, you can't take part in this exercise and not put The Hooded One in charge of the show.
Bill Belichick will be head coach, ensuring my team will win relentlessly and be resented by all. My offensive coordinator will be Bruce Arians, who injects much-needed levity into the building, is great at his job, and is just generally awesome. Plus, we could attract Kangol as a sponsor, something that might lead to a Sam Jackson motivational speech in a big spot. Finally, the defensive coordinator is Son Of Bum, Wade Phillips, who is a good dude, great tweeter and architect of one of the best defenses of the century.
We will never lose.
Poor Dan Orlovsky. It's not like he just barely stepped on the back line, either. Dude rolled right like he took the snap from midfield. I believe Allen got credited with a sack on this play, which is good work if you can get it. Enjoy retirement, bub.
Each guy comes pre-loaded with a saucy back story that would make Al Michaels tear up with excitement. Palmer has come back from two serious knee injuries and -- in this scenario -- will have buried an ugly reputation for shrinking once the calendar turns over to January. Plus, Bengals fans will be so happy to see their prodigal son finally win big. Actually, scratch that last one.
Romo would be massive for obvious reasons. The Cowboys quarterback has become a subject of fascination for football fans who have reveled in his numerous setbacks and near misses over the years. (Romo Schadenfreude should be studied in sports psychology courses at American colleges and universities.) Romo finally getting over the hump and returning America's Team to the top of the football food chain would be a huge story. On the flip side, I suspect Cowboys fans would be fairly insufferable about this turn of events and I don't think I'm ready for that. The 90s were pretty rough.
The choice here is Philip Rivers, and it's not particularly close for me. He's a widely acknowledged good guy, has impeccable bolo sense, has been a great quarterback trapped on mediocre teams far too often. Plus, he has like 400 daughters (a Super Bowl win would bring much-needed endorsement money).
Then there's the potential local fallout of a championship win. If the Bolts win the whole freaking thing next February, it just might single-handedly save football in San Diego. I smell a Disney movie. This all sounds great ... now all the Chargers need is a team.
OK, so basically this must be a feud between two of the brightest stars in the NFL. And it has to involve two players that have prior history. To quote T-Swift, let's cull our records for some high-octane bad blood. I think the right choice is Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman. In this scenario, Beckham is almost certainly Yeezy, all aggression and unhinged megalomania. Norman is the "victim" who might not be as innocent as the public perceives him to be.
Let's revisit that Week 15 showdown, which essentially amounted to a Vince McMahon XFL fever dream.
While we're here, here's my plea to Kanye to put The Life Of Pablo on Spotify and iTunes. If you make me get in bed with Tidal, I will never forgive you. You hear me? Never!
And speaking of ODB, what's this we're hearing about Beckham's 23-year-old cousin trying to pull an NFL Rudy? And why does he think it's OK to ride around on the subway without a shirt?
Here we go. You know it's February when every prominent free agent is connected to the damn Patriots. I'd say this is a product of rabid and spoiled fans along the Mass Pike, but hardcore journos love the Pats speculation, too. "Star Veteran X to Patriots?" has become as big a part of the early-year football calendar as the combine, draft and unflattering LeSean McCoy headlines.
Let's wrap up with some wild speculation about teams and a new season that hasn't even begun to take shape yet!
Of all the division winners, I'd probably go with the Redskins as the team I trust the least to replicate their success. This isn't a direct shot at the 'Skins so much as a stinging jab at the NFC East, the NFL's most uninspiring division. Nobody can touch the AFC South in terms of pure crappiness, but the NFC East has never felt further away from the glory years of Parcells, Gibbs and Buddy.
Maybe the Redskins will be the team that seizes control of the East and runs the division for a few years. But I could just as easily imagine Washington taking a step or two back and another team hosting a playoff game with a 9-7 record. Come on guys.
There is no shortage of candidates for Comeback Player of the Year after a season in which half of your fantasy was wiped out by Week 8. Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, Jordy Nelson, Le'Veon Bell, Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles, Andrew Luck, Kelvin Benjamin, Tyrann Mathieu and Victor Cruz are all in play. There are many others.