Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NFL Power Rankings - Friends

Sitting in a coffee shop, thinking about this week’s power rankings, and this strange scene unfolds. I’m sitting in the corner, near the front window. This slightly husky, younger Asian girl wearing sweat pants comes in, sits at the next table, and then goes up to the counter to order her drink. She stands right under the sign that says “No Cell Phones In Here, Okay?” while she places her order, then returns to the table, takes out her cell phone and calls her friend to babble on and on, spewing idiocy loudly. Then I hear her drop this gem: “Well, hurry up and get here, I have to tell you about what happened with the crush I had on my hip-hop dance coach.” Wait, what?

And then it gets better. Her friend shows up, a skinnier Asian girl, takes off her shoes, and sits next to Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop closes her computer, and the friend pulls out her Tarot cards and a book titled “Tarot Cards Plain & Simple.” She then starts to shuffle the cards and sets them up as if her and her friend are playing a game of Uno. I don’t know anything about Tarot cards other than they are usually read by strange gypsies, hippies and homeless people. How does this work? If she doesn’t like the fortune she gets for herself or for her friend, does she just reshuffle and play again? I’m so thoroughly confused………..

Trying to rank the teams this week while sitting in a coffee shop reminded of a television show that spent a ton of time in a coffee shop – Friends. It might have actually been a more universally watched show than Seinfeld, and while it was always entertaining, it did not have the timelessness of the show about nothing. Nevertheless, it did have some great characters, and so those will be the categories for this week’s NFL Power Rankings. This week’s biggest gainers are the Redskins and the Jaguars, though for the Redskins, it doesn’t take much to climb above the wreckage at the bottom of the league. The biggest declines this week belong to the Jets and the Bears, which shouldn’t be surprising. On to the rankings…..

The Rachel Green Category (Jennifer Aniston)
Rachel was the spoiled brat on the show, trying to make it on her own and not need her rich, disapproving father’s money. And she was the biggest star on the show, including having her hairstyle “The Rachel” turn into a fashion trend. She was never the smartest, but whether she was working in the coffee shop, or finally working for Ralph Lauren, everyone wanted to root for her success. These are the best teams in the league – the ones that inspire copycat behavior and envy from the rest of the league.

1. Saints (last week: 1) – A very shaky performance against a woeful Rams team had me considering putting the Colts at the top of the heap, but one little slip up doesn’t ruin their entire body of work. Rachel dating that young guy Tag doesn’t take away from her being the best looking girl on the show.

2. Colts (2) – They survived another game in which they really didn’t have any business winning. Yet if you let Peyton Manning hang around long enough, he will get you. And the fact that he scared Bill Belichick into making that awful 4th down call is enough to win him the MVP award already.

3. Vikings (4) – The game with the Lions was closer than the score indicated, but the bottom line is that it was another win, preventing Green Bay from making up any ground in the division. Sidney Rice has become the legit receiving threat they have lacked since Randy Moss left town.

4. Bengals (6) – They out Steeler’d the Steelers on Sunday and now are enough of a stable situation that they can bring Larry Johnson into the fold for rushing game insurance. This is not the same brash, immature Bengals team that was competitive in 2005. This is one of the best teams in the league and they are putting themselves in position to get a bye and at least one home playoff game.

5. Patriots (5) – Belichick’s call was the Friends equivalent of when Rachel and Ross got drunk and managed to slip one past the goalie. There could be some serious lasting repercussions, such as the confidence of the defense, and losing a shot at home field advantage in the playoffs. Yet they have a quarterback who is used to being a single father, so maybe they’re more prepared than we thought.

6. Steelers (3) – Losing Troy Polamalu again will take its toll on the Steelers defense when they were just starting to return to their dominant form. They are still among the league’s elite, but they are probably closer to Rachel at the very beginning of the show, or maybe even before the show, before her nose job. They’re still good enough to get the job done, but they need a little work.

The Joey Tribbiani Category (Matt LeBlanc)
Joey was the most entertaining character on the show. He was definitely the dumbest character on the show, but his stupidity and woman chasing always made for pure entertainment. He was famous for being the Italian stud with the ability to bed chicks by simply asking, “How you doin’?” And yet, when they tried to make a spin off with just Joey, the thing went down faster than Lindsay Lohan on a table full of coke. The best Joey moment of the entire show came early on, before Joey was established as the best character:

7. Chargers (10) – A convincing win over the Paper Eagles combined with another loss from the Broncos and suddenly they are playing for the division lead in Denver on Sunday. They are also looking to avenge an earlier season loss. Pending fatherhood seemed to suit LT pretty well, rushing for almost a hundo with 2 touchdowns to boot.

8. Cardinals (11) – Kurt Warner is playing like a youngster, despite his advanced age. It reminds me of the episode where Joey has to play the part of a 19-year old, and he comes out with a winter hat, Marcus Camby jersey and sagging pants showing his drawers and says to Chandler, “Sup? …..Playin’ playstation is whack! …..Sup with the whack playstation, sup.”

9. Texans (13) – Only an idiot would underestimate the importance of Andre Johnson to the Texans. Just like Joey reminded us that “Only an idiot would wear all this Ferrari gear if they didn’t actually own a Ferrari.” Of course, Joey was just standing next to someone else’s Ferrari, wearing a Ferrari hat, shirt, jacket and driving gloves, pretending that it was his car when he made the statement.

The Pete Becker Category (Jon Favreau)
Pete was the ultra rich guy who pursued Monica, leaving her huge tips when she was working at the restaurant and she had to dress up with huge ti………you know. She tried to like him and his endless money, but no matter what, she just wasn’t into him. Then he decided that he wanted to be the ultimate fighting champion, only to suffer a brutal beat down. I think that fits for both the Cowboys in general and Tony Romo specifically.

10. Cowboys (7) – No matter how hard he tries, and how much money Jerry Jones throws around with the Cowboys, they just can’t get it right and can’t be consistent. They dominate the Eagles in Philly, but then turn around and lay an egg in Lambeau. They’re still the class of the overrated NFC East at this point.

The Chandler Bing Category (Matthew Perry)
Chandler usually played the straight man to Joey’s comedy. Chandler never had too many plotlines built around him, as he was either a pawn in one of Joey’s escapades or he was tagging along with his future wife Monica. He may have been most famous for the fact that his weight would fluctuate more than Jessica Simpson. It was rumored that you could tell whether he was on or off of cocaine based on his weight throughout the show. Much like his weight, these teams have fluctuated between looking like powerhouses (landing Monica) or weaklings (his inability to stand up to the coffee house bullies).

11. Broncos (8) – No one believed the Broncos were as good as their 6-0 record and they’ve worked extremely hard the past three weeks to prove everyone correct. Losing to the pitiful Redskins was as unexpected as Kathleen Turner showing up as Chandler’s cross-dressing father.

12. Falcons (9) – They suffered their fourth road loss of the year and Matt Ryan suddenly is turning the ball over at an alarming clip. Things don’t get any easier for the Falcons with a trip to Giants Stadium this week.

13. Packers (17) – It was an enormous win over the Cowboys, but that just cancels out the enormous loss to Tampa Bay the week before. They used more short drops and quick hits to try and alleviate some of the pressure on Rodgers, which appeared to help. Their defense remains inconsistent – maybe they’re on cocaine like Matthew Perry?

14. Eagles (12) – Another trip to the west coast, another disappointing performance for the Eagles. This is just not a mentally tough team, and I can’t see them going anywhere in the playoffs. Brian Westbrook needs to consider hanging it up for good – consecutive concussions should be enough to scare him from becoming a permanent vegetable in the future.

15. Ravens (14) – They don’t deserve to lose ground in the rankings after shutting out the Browns, but then again, they don’t exactly deserve praise for beating the fat kid in a race.

16. Jaguars (21) – They may be the least impressive 5-4 team in the league, but they have a fairly soft schedule and could potentially be a player in the playoff picture the rest of the year. As I pointed out yesterday, I didn’t like the call to take a knee, but when you win, it cures everything…..except an empty stadium in Jacksonville.

17. Giants (15) – Hopefully the bye week allowed Eli Manning’s heel to heal because his accuracy has went up in the smoke from Chandler’s cigs. The Giants need to rediscover their ground game and get their secondary healthy if they are going to be a player in the NFC East.

The Monica Geller Category (Courtney Cox)
Monica was the neat-freak mother hen on the show. She was always the brains of the girls, and also was freakishly strong. She was an unattractive fat girl growing up, but managed to slim down and turn into a pretty attractive girl, landing Chandler toward the end of the show. These are the teams that started out like that fat girl, but suddenly appear to be much thinner, attractive and capable of making some of the top teams fall for them.

18. Panthers (19) – Has Jake Delhomme got his groove back? He sure did last week, hitting Steve Smith for a couple of TDs, however the loss of left tackle Jordan Gross could be a deadly blow to the running game and Delhomme’s protection. The Panthers are making a late run at saving John Fox’s job and keeping Bill Cowher on ice another year.

19. Titans (20) – You have to love 86 year old Titans owner Bud Adams telling Bills fans “they were #1”, with both authority and with both hands, then accepting the quarter million dollar fine. Maybe he should have used Monica and Ross’s “fists together” salute next time, so people won’t know it’s a cover up for the finger.

20. Dolphins (23) – Miami will be trying to run the wildcat without their primary wildcat quarterback, Ronnie Brown. That will place more pressure on Ricky Williams, and potentially open up opportunities for rookie Pat White.

The Mona Category (Bonnie Somerville)
Mona was Ross’s girlfriend right after he knocked up Rachel, and Rachel’s father comes to find out why Ross won’t marry his daughter. She was yet another woman that was way out of Ross’s league that somehow stayed with him for longer than any sane woman would in real life. She was attractive and eventually exposed as not having much staying power on the show. And that pretty much sums up the Jets at this point.

21. Jets (16) – They are the “Reverse Beer Goggles” – they looked like the prettiest girl in the bar when you walk in, but for some reason, the more you drink, the more you see all of her flaws and you realize she actually resembles Rex Ryan more than Jeri Ryan.

The Richard Burke Category (Tom Selleck)
Richard was Monica’s boyfriend for a long time in the middle of the show. It was always a little strange considering he had to be a good 15-20 years older than Monica and it never seemed right that Monica was dating Magnum P.I. Eventually the writers tired of trying to fit him into a comedy show, and they finally broke up.

22. 49ers (22) – This category definitely fits the 49ers, because their rather pathetic win against the Bears masked the fact that they have been irrelevant since the 80’s – much like Tom Selleck when he was solving crimes in his Ferrari and probably hiding evidence in his sweater-vest chest hair.

The Janice Category (Maggie Wheeler)
The most annoying character in the show with her nasal wailing voice, yelling “Oh………Gawd!” I despised every time she came on the screen and can’t figure out for the life of me why any of the guys in the show would spend even 30 seconds with her. The only thing I can think of is that she was freakishly good in the sack. And I just threw up a little bit in my mouth…….

23. Bears (18) – The perfect category for the Bears – easily the most annoying team led by the most annoying quarterback in the league. In addition to his poor play, Cutler is getting bashed for his body language, pouting, yelling, and staring down teammates after the play. And strangely, people still seem to think he is a franchise quarterback – prompting rumors that the Bears may bring in Mike Shanahan to try and correct Cutler.

The Phoebe Buffay Category (Lisa Kudrow)
Phoebe was always a wildcard on the show. She was a free spirit, a singer in the coffee shop, had an evil twin sister and used to be homeless and hitchhiked across the country. She owned her grandmother’s old taxi, and ended up being a surrogate mother for her estranged brother’s triplets. I never remember them explaining how a rich brat like Rachel, and a square like Monica became friends with such a hippie, and how they never even attempted a romance between Phoebe and any of the guys – Joey, Ross or Chandler.

24. Seahawks (24) – There isn’t a lot to say about the Seahawks. They stink and they have a prematurely balding quarterback with a brother who somehow parlayed an average backup quarterback career into a gig as a talking head at ESPN. I mean, Tim Hasselbeck’s biggest claim to fame is that he’s the wife of Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the girl from Survivor that parlayed that into a gig on The View.

25. Bills (25) – They fired their coach, Dick Jauron. Yeah, that’s going to solve all their problems on the offensive and defensive lines. I wonder if Jauron pulled a Bud Adams on his way out of the team facilities.

26. Redskins (31) – The Redskins are the quintessential Phoebe – they are a general mess, and yet they somehow manage to pull off some short-term success and you start to think that maybe she (they) aren’t all that bad. They beat the Broncos, and have unleashed their punter as one of their most dangerous offensive weapons.

27. Chiefs (27) – Todd Haley and Scott Pioli have petitioned the league to allow the Chiefs to play the Raiders every week. And now the Chiefs lose their best receiver Dwayne Bowe to a 4 game suspension for failing the league’s performance enhancing drug test – allegedly for a diuretic to aid with weight loss in minicamp. That signing of Chris Chambers looks better every week and may help the Chiefs secure the 5th pick instead of the 2nd.

28. Buccaneers (28) – The Bucs have shown a little bit of life with Josh Freeman at quarterback, but at they still have a long way to go. They showed it wasn’t just the creamsicle jerseys that were improving their chances of a second win.

The Ross Geller Category (David Schwimmer)
Ross was the weakest and worst character on the show. The critics would call it brooding, but I call it a whiny little bizzitch. Yet somehow this nerdy, insecure loser ended up with a plethora of chicks from Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), her sister (Reese Witherspoon), Mona (see above), etc. It never made sense how this dude who could only talk about dinosaurs and rocks managed to score as much talent as Joey. In the end, somehow he convinced people that we was who Rachel should end up with, but again, let’s just review the situation – the guy hooked up with a girl the night you had a big fight, hooked up with your sister, and plays with dinosaur bones. If that’s not the definition of a loser, I don’t know what it is.

29. Rams (29) – They put up a valiant effort against the Saints, but it ended up as just another loss in their large pile of losses. Like his dopey t-shirt that he demands back from Rachel, “Frankie Say Relax” and wait for the draft, Rams fans.

30. Lions (26) – They continue to backslide, and it will be better, but at this point, the new coaching staff and the addition of a franchise quarterback have worked out as well as Ross’s teeth whitening or spray tan adventure.

31. Raiders (30) – The Raiders and Al Davis are kind of like Ross’s attempt to rekindle his music with his electronic keyboard. It is absolutely terrible, and a complete embarrassment, yet everyone seems hesitant to tell him how bad he is. Only Phoebe (the football equivalent is the Redskins) thinks he’s really good.

32. Browns (32) – Eric Mangini has been about as successful as Ross in leather pants. In 6 of their 12 years since their reincarnation, they have won 4 games or less. They are the definition of pathetic, weak and tough to root for – just like Ross.

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