Let’s do a little catching up, shall we? In January, I was in Florida interviewing seniors who swing and/or strip. No fooling. After a particularly grueling 97-minute interview with a 75-year-old woman who loves orgies, my associates and I went to a restaurant outside of St. Petersburg where we bumped into N.Y. Giant Tiki Barber who was in town visiting his twin brother Ronde, who, of course, was in the middle of the playoffs with the Buccaneers. Good sport, that Tiki.

Nothing else happened to me.

Oh, okay. In March, I went to Nassau Coliseum to see Whitesnake and The Scorpions. In May, I met old N.Y. Met Rusty Staub at a dinner.

I have remaining copies of my bestseller, Ignore the Spread. Buy it through PayPal.com. Just enter: FittedSweats@hotmail.com, 6 measly dollars, and your mailing address.

Let’s talk about the 2003 season.

1) I love Mary J. Blige.

2) Buy Castaways & Cutouts by The Decemberists. It is an awesome record. Like old Belle & Sebastian if they were from Portland, OR.

2a) If you got married or had a baby within the last two years, chances are I still owe you a present. Don’t give up hope.

3) Oh yeah, the season. Jimmy Kleinsasser from the Vikings: he’s a crackpot. Watch him. Donald Driver from the Packers will have a big year. The Ravens are in deep crap on offense this year. Mariucci will do good stuff with the Lions, but not enough good stuff. Get it? Philly will be 9-7. Atlanta will play well even without Vick. Bill Romanowski is a moron. Read Rick Reilly’s Sports Illustrated column about Romo’s pill/shark cartilage intake.

4) In upcoming weeks, look for the NFL Picks to radically shift into its most vigorous format in five years. You’ll actually get some real interviews and stories. And some commentary on hotel theatre. In the meantime:


Which team’s beleaguered radio announcer, long beaten down by his children’s refusal to see him after a messy 1978 divorce, splits his free time weeping into TV dinners or stumbling into area restaurants and ordering “anything with butter”?

Which club’s general manager has taken to giving small, plastic dolls shaves and haircuts, and has requested that his secretary please take the trouble to keep the appointments straight? (He doesn’t know that the “hair” is Play-Doh.)

Which team’s home field has already been so obliterated due to monsoons that they will play on a scientifically engineered turf that is 83% scrambled eggs, 11% twine, and 6% lava rocks (mostly from neighborhood lawns)?

Which nose tackle likes his teammates to hold him down on the chilly tile floor of the locker room and whisper “mama’s boy” into his ears until they’re moist from everyone’s breath?

Which team has been so decimated by injuries that they will start a radish at QB on Sunday?

Why is TV announcer Kevin Harlan so annoying?

Which AM talk-radio shock jock who has never done one jumping jack in his life is blathering on about shortening the preseason, while his wife has been not-so-quietly blathering on about the shortness of something else?

Which remaining twenty-nine teams will start “Marc,” a great QB you’ve heard little about who threw eleven touchdowns for a tiny I-AAAAAAAAAAAA school that plays all of its games on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and who previously was bussing tables at a Salisbury, MD Stuckey’s restaurant known for its generous portions of lukewarm “Bay Stew”?

Which coach is worried about a rebate on an automobile battery he purchased in May and (never mind waiting 6-8 weeks) to this day hasn’t heard anything?

When did Dennis Miller become such an idiot?

Which team doesn’t even know what time its game starts on Sunday, or if it is a home or away match?

Which place kicker won’t stop playing the horn?

Which defensive back needs his lotion?

Why does Al Michaels try to subliminally inject his right-wing views into every telecast? How much do you want to bet that he a) talks about Arnold for governor? or b) mentions something complimentary about Katharine Harris?

Which tight end likes licorice?

Which coach gets all of his assistants in a lather about running the old 82, his famous reverse-reverse-reverse-reverse-reverse that he picked up on the sandlots during his military days in Guam?

Which assistants don’t have the guts to tell their head coach his 5x-reverse-Guam play is nothing more than the medication not working? These same assistants generally wait for the coach to nod off before removing the magic stapler from his left hand and sending his lucky bib out to be laundered?

Which former coach, now serving as a big time television analyst, has a face as big as Ohio? Seriously, there is a rest stop near his nose where you can shower and get a hot bowl of soup if need be.

Which team’s grounds crew will not take down the scarecrows they put up shortly after the 2002 season?

Which punter lives in an orange and yellow birdhouse in a tree in his center’s front yard?

Answers and much more next week.

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Jets at Redskins — Jets, but watch Trung Canidate for the ’Skins.

Arizona at Detroit — Detroit, even though they have no running game.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh, by ten or more.

Denver at Cincinnati — Cincinnati. The Bengals will end up being one of the most fun teams to watch in 2003.

Houston at Miami — Miami. Wannstedt might get the ax this season.

Indianapolis at Cleveland — Indianapolis

Jacksonville at Carolina — Carolina

Minnesota at Green Bay — Green Bay. This will be close.

New England at Buffalo — Buffalo. New England’s defense will be amazing, too bad their offense is horrid.

San Diego at Kansas City — Yuk. Kansas City.

St. Louis at N.Y. Giants — N.Y. Giants

Atlanta at Dallas — Dallas. Could go either way, really. Quincy Carter has been getting some confidence.

Chicago at San Francisco — San Francisco

New Orleans at Seattle — Seattle

Oakland at Tennessee — Tennessee

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia — Tampa Bay