Gregg Easterbrook: Tony Dungy is Basically Jesus


Last week, Gregg Easterbrook asked Mel Kiper Jr., who is the only person qualified to look at players’ measurements, to comment on how players have gotten bigger and faster. That is, he reiterated a bunch of stuff that we already knew. He also wrote a haiku about each NFL team (how precious), complained about realism in entertainment, and made a bunch of statements that nobody will ever bother to reality check. So what’s on tap this week? Read on to find out:

“In the last days of Narnia…”

So begins the final book of “The Chronicles of Narnia” — a volume that’s unlikely to become a big-budget Hollywood movie, since all the children and the cute talking animals are slaughtered by a hideous demon named Tash. Which sounds a little like Texans.

I’ll say it because it needs to be said, Narnia blows. This is, of course, why Easterbrook loves it. I’ll take my literature without christian allegory thank you very much.

The Indianapolis Colts under Peyton Manning have been the Narnia of the NFL. Everything’s always sunny.

Except for all that losing in the playoffs stuff. Continuing with this analogy, is Sean Payton the White Witch?

The primary hero in the C.S. Lewis books is an English schoolboy who becomes Peter the High King — tall, brave and humble, just like Manning. (A standard literary criticism of Lewis’ creation is that the strange races of Narnia need a white male to lead them.) For more than a decade, Manning has been Peyton the High King to the NFL.

Bless him for he is the anointed Manning.. giveth him laser-rocket arm and ability to do the chicken dance before each play… allow him to fall just short every time unless the other team is helmed by Rex Grossman

Tony Dungy, the Colts’ coach for most of the Manning years, and for their Super Bowl win, has been the NFL’s Aslan, a superpowered being.

Let’s connect the dots here. Aslan is for all intents and purposes, Jesus, he’s an allegorical figure. If Dungy is Aslan, then Dungy is an allegorical representation of Christ. In reality, he’s a homophobic, self righteous prick, who gets a free pass from everyone because he speaks articulately, reads the Bible, and looks harmless.

 And Dwight Freeney is the Reepicheep of the NFL, far more powerful than his modest stature — OK, enough with this metaphor.

Thank Jesus, er Aslan, er Dungy?

But doesn’t it feel like the NFL’s Narnia is about to end?

If so, I must have really enjoyed watching Narnia burn.

Manning may not play this season. If his “neck” injury actually is a spine problem, he would be well advised never to take the field again. Two days ago, the Calormenes routed the lesser knights and lords of the Colts/Narnia. This coming Sunday, forces of darkness (OK, the Cleveland Browns) will assault Cair Paravel itself (OK, Lucas Oil Stadium).

Near the end of the Chronicles, Father Time declares a conclusion to the Narnia world, whose star grows old and expires. Peter, who ruled during Narnia’s Golden Age, is instructed to close a door that will forever seal Narnia away as just a memory, its reality inaccessible even to Aslan himself. All things must end. Nobody expected Colts/Narnia to end so soon, but Peyton the High King may find himself instructed to close the door on a Golden Age of football.

I thought you said you were done with this metaphor…

The Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton threw for a rookie-debut record 422 yards. Newton has already shown he can handle traditional pocket passing better than Tim Tebow, the collegiate player he’s most often compared to. Famous quarterbacks who never threw for 422 yards or more in a game: Terry Bradshaw, Jim Kelly, Bart Starr and Fran Tarkenton.

I love the irrelevance of this comparison. Those guys played in completely different eras, when the game was much more run oriented. The Panthers ran for a combined 74 yards on Sunday.

Stats of the Week No. 4: Ted Ginn Jr. scored two touchdowns and gained 157 yards in 59 seconds.

He will score exactly two more the rest of the year.

Quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Andy Dalton, who faced each other in the Cincinnati Bengals-Cleveland Browns contest, were 87-15 as college starters and are 3-7 as pro starters.

Who knew that quarterbacks on crappy teams lost games? Also, Dalton has started all of one game, way to use representative samples.

What was Tony Romo thinking when — score tied, one minute remaining — he threw the ball directly into the hands of Darrelle Revis? Jersey/B kicked the winning field goal shortly after. The interception was nutty, as the receiver was double-covered. At this point one has to accept that Romo is simply never going to grow up.

Shhhhhh, don’t let Jerry Jones find out…

 On Sunday, Calvin Johnson. LeSean McCoy, Ted Ginn, Patrick Peterson, Aqib Talib and A.J. Green, all running in the clear for touchdowns, waved the ball 10 yards or more from the end zone. Don’t do this — the football gods shall smite you! Yea, verily, you shall be smote.

Or not, will anyone reality check this?

Reader Brian Endo of Tokyo reports that the Costco in Kawasaki, Japan, already has Christmas trees on sale.

To be fair, knowing the Japanese, those trees aren’t for Christmas, they’re there to ward off the poop zombies, they don’t like the piney fresh smell.

Will Steven Spielberg put his name on anything?

I think we’ve already established that he will.

More on “Terra Nova” next week.

Can’t wait to read that.

Host Washington led 21-14 early in fourth quarter, with the New York Giants facing third-and-1 on the Redskins’ 18. Ahmad Bradshaw was dropped for a loss on a toss, Washington blocked a field goal attempt on the next snap, and the rest of the contest was all Skins.

*Breaks nearest fragile object*

Even if it makes sense long-term for the Jaguars to transition to rookie Blaine Gabbert, waiving their veteran starter is likely to mean fewer victories in 2011, and fewer seats sold late in the season.

The Jaguars? Sell seats?

As the home Denver crowd chanted for Tim Tebow, Oakland won its eighth straight within the division. The Raiders will become a contender if they show they can prevail outside the AFC West.

They won’t.

A couple weeks ago, a picture of a mouflon appeared next to an explanation of the TMQ cognomen “Les Mouflons.” Striving to be erudite, Page 2 captioned the photo, “Une mouflon.” Readers, including Caroline Stevenson of Austin, Texas, wrote to note that the sheep was male (horns) and therefore the caption should have read “Un mouflon.” This caused your columnist to exclaim, “TMQ readers know too much.”

That’s why they read this column. You need to kill brain cells somehow.

Last week’s column had a raven saying “you can quoth me” about Baltimore’s need to beat the Steelers. Jeffrey Roth of Davidson, N.C., writes, “The pictured bird is not a raven, rather, a Daurian Jackdaw. Yes, it’s another type of corvid, but an entirely different genus.” TMQ readers know too much! If you know too much, show off by sending an esoteric comment to

Oh christ, does this mean more useless sh*t in a column ostensibly about football

While TMQ thinks Canton ought to consider off-field behavior (and expel those who do not behave honorably, such as Lawrence Taylor), in Moss’ case there are no serious off-field issues.

This pisses me off. Stuff that players do off the field has nothing to do with football. I’d venture that 90% of professional athletes are somewhere on the spectrum from douchebag to criminal. At the same time, it should have nothing to do with their accomplishments on the field, and that’s what the Hall of Fame is about.

By stats, and by his presences on the two highest-scoring offenses in NFL annals — the 1998 Vikings and 2007 Patriots — Moss would be in the Hall of Fame. By his constant ego fits and dogging it, he would be out. In many games Moss did not give his all, or failed to support his teammates. There’s no law that says a person has to like team sports. But does someone who regularly showed contempt for teamwork really belong in the Hall of Fame?

If he was the best receiver of his generation then yes.

Moss also regularly showed contempt for coaches, especially Brad Childress, who’s been unemployed since he made the mistake of opening his door to Moss. We reap what we sow, and what Moss may reap is a closed door at Canton.

Every human being on this earth who has ever watched a football game has contempt for Brad Childress. If Randy Moss isn’t a Hall of Famer then the hall is irrelevant.

Last season the Chargers performed the seemingly impossible feat of finishing first in offense and first in defense, yet missing the playoffs.

I call it TransNorvification!

The Football Gods Chortled No. 2: In the Detroit at City of Tampa contest, Lions’ coach Jim Schwartz called timeout just as the Buccaneers were hoisting a field goal attempt, which missed. Granted a second try, the Bucs kicker hit.

And the Lions still won.

Next Week: Peter, Susan and Lucy ask Aslan to let them bring Peyton Manning a healing apple from Narnia.

Kill me now



Posted on September 13, 2011, in FJM Style, NFL and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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