by Trevor Fik (Staff Writer)
With week five action in the NFL coming to a close, what is becoming most evident is that this is the first season in recent memory where a dominant team has not separated itself from the rest of the pack, as there are no clear front runners for Super Bowl contenders. And as preseason championship favourites, such as the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings, fall to 1-3, previously disregarded squads like the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are posting winning records and high numbers. Up is down, left is right, and the former Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints were defeated by a Kurt Warner-less Arizona Cardinals 30-20! This season has proven to be astounding week after week, and we are only a month and a half in.
Going into the fifth week of play, only one team had remained unbeaten. If you would have told me, and anybody who has followed the NFL in the last decade, that the team would be the Kansas City Chiefs, you would have been sacked faster than Matt Cassell trying to leave the pocket. The Chiefs had their work cut out for them if they were to remain unbeaten however, going up against an Indianapolis Colts’ squad who was eager to get back on the field after their devastating loss to Jacksonville the week before.
With Colt’s quarterback Peyton Manning unable to hit anything resembling a receiver all day, the game came down to the final 5 minutes when Colts’ back-up running back Mike Hart took over. Hart, who was filling in for the injured Joseph Addai (who left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury), ran through three Chief’s players for an 11-yard touchdown that put the Colts on top 19-9.
Perhaps the biggest story this week was the New England Patriots trade of future hall of fame wide-receiver Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings. Moss, who has been vocal this past season about his unhappiness with contract negotiations in New England, jumped at the chance to go back to the team where his career began. Moss was traded in exchange for a third round draft pick, and made his debut Monday night catching four passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Concussions, which have become a debilitating drag on team’s availability of healthy players this season in particular, claimed another player this past Sunday with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers leaving the game against the Redskins after he was tackled hard Sunday afternoon. Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who was sacked eight times by the New York Giants defence in week four, also missed a game in week five due to issues relating to a concussion suffered in that game.
In what has to be the most delusional statement made by someone associated with the NFL this season, San Fransisco 49er’s owner Jed York has made the bold assertion that his 0-5 49er’s are going to shock the NFL by winning the NFC West division and make the playoffs. The 49er’s, who lost Sunday’s game against the Eagles 27-24, face the Oakland Raiders next in what is sure to be a continuation of their abysmal slide into the bottom ranks of the NFL. Look for 49er’s coach Mike Singletary to be back on the job market next season, as York looks for someone to shift the blame onto.
And what would a week in the NFL be without one of its star-studded athletes being accused of some form of highly inappropriate behaviour? This week’s culprit is none other then Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. Of all things, he has been accused of sending a number of suggestive “sexts” and photographs to Jenn Sterger, a former game-day host for the Jets.
Although the report has been neither confirmed nor denied by Favre, the NFL is investigating the claim, which broke on the football blog site Deadspin, as a potential case of sexual harassment. For those interested in sneaking a peak at Favre’s “playbook,” Deadspin is reporting upwards of 2 million views of the story already.
Needless to say most of this week’s action centered on the Minnesota Vikings, with the Randy Moss trade and Brett Favre allegations fresh in everyone’s mind. As a result, the highly anticipated Monday night football game between the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings was the game most worthy of being viewed this past weekend. While the drama surrounding this contest threatened to make the game itself unimportant, the level of play that fans were treated to Monday night put to rest any idle chatter that did not directly involve what was happening on the field.
With both teams putting up strong defensive efforts initially, both offences were forced to sit idly until the second half when the action picked up. Down 22-20 with three minutes remaining, Favre attempted to rally the Vikings offence down the field to take the lead. The night was not to go in Favre’s favour however, as an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Jet’s defensive back Dwight Lowery ended the game with the final score being 29-20.
As much respect as Favre deserves for being the iron man that he is, he showed sign of his age Monday night. More then one time he grabbed his elbow after a particularly deep pass, and looked out of sorts trying to evade Jets defenders. While I hope this season marks the last of Favre’s storied career, I also hope that it does not inevitable tarnish the reputation of one of the sports true heroes.