Every Wednesday, Shutdown Corner brings you a list of things that may have happened previously in the NFL, but will not be happening again.
Don't Count On ...
... any sort of reliable predictions being made about the Dallas Cowboys in their game against the Redskins. It feels like the most highly anticipated game of the season thus far, and it also feels like the least predictable. A lot of people will predict a lot of things about the game, and of course, some of them will be right. But that will be because of coincidence only.
I don't know how anyone would go about predicting what we might get from the Cowboys this weekend. What the Cowboys give you on any given Sunday is all about their state of mind. Of course the talent is there. It's all about how badly they want it, and how willing they are to work for it.
How do you predict that with the Cowboys? It's like trying to guess how an Amy Winehouse concert is going to end.
After their embarrassing loss to the Rams; one of the most mentally soft performances in sports history, they needed to bounce back and show a little backbone against the Bucs, and they did. The next week, the division-leading archrival Giants came to town, and did the backbone remain? Sort of. The backbone was there, but it was pressed against the ground with ankles held up in the air.
This week? Not only do you have to guess at which side of their bipolar personality is going to show up, but there are two complicating factors: One, they're coming off a bye, and two, they're also getting their star quarterback and emotional leader back.
My best guess? I think they'll pull it together for a week and get a narrow win. If I'm right, though, it's a total accident.
... Jared Allen getting a lot of sympathy for his tax burden. After the votes came in in favor of President-lect Obama, Allen had this to say:
"It's a sad day for me. I'm a McCain supporter. There is nothing I can do about it now. Our paychecks will be cut in half," he said. "It is what it is and McCain, I still love you, and Obama, you better do what you promised because the whole country is watching."
Half? What's he doing, divorcing Eddie Murphy? I don't know where he got "half," but let's give him the benefit of the doubt and operate as if that's true.
Jared Allen got a signing bonus of $15 million before signing a new contract this year with the Vikings. Cutting that in half, we're down to $7.5 million ... and that doesn't include his base salary, which is more than 99% of Americans will make in a year.
So maybe Jared Allen might no longer be able to fill his bathtub every night with spring water imported from the Swiss Alps. He might have to settle for Fiji Natural Artesian Water.
The Post-Bulletin of Rochester, MN ran this letter to the editor today. Believe it or not, in the midst of this massive economic downturn, this particular gentleman doesn't seem to concerned with how many millions Jared Allen will be taking home every year.
And honestly, neither am I, considering that Jared Allen deserves to be making about 21 cents an hour in some prison labor factory. He can afford taxi cabs, but has repeatedly refused to use them.
... the Dolphins being content with a "Hey, nice rebound season" and a pat on the back. The more I think about it, the more I think the Dolphins are going to be the second team from the AFC East to make the playoffs. Buffalo's trending harshly downwards, I can't make myself buy the Jets and Miami's got a schedule friendlier than Laverne and Shirley.
They've got seven games left, and they'll probably only be underdogs once or twice: at home against New England, and on the road at the Jets, both of which are completely winnable. Other than that, they've got this murderer's row: Raiders, Rams, Bills, 49ers, and Chiefs. The Dillon Panthers play a tougher schedule.
That is the type of schedule of which playoff seasons are made.
... Tony Sparano getting my vote for Coach of the Year, even if Miami does turn out to make the playoffs. It would be an incredible feat, and Coach Sparano and his man-smock would have my undying respect, but I'd still say Mike Smith of Atlanta should be COY.
Obviously, this could change, as we've got almost half a season to go, but if I had to pick right now, I'd go with Smith for two reasons: One, both the Falcons and Dolphins were bad last year, but the Falcons were way more of a mess. The Dolphins were awful, but never that unstable. Their coach never quit on them. The face of their franchise never fed Spot to Rover.
Secondly, and I know this isn't fair to Sparano, but ... Bill Parcells is there. Not to demean Sparano's work, but you know Bill Parcells had a lot to do with turning that culture around, too. In the end, fair or not, the 2008 Dolphins will probably be remembered as a Parcells job, not a Sparano job.
... Cadillac Williams making a huge impact anytime soon. When Cadillac shred his patellar tendon last year, weren't there questions about whether or not he'd ever return to full strength? And even before the major injury, wasn't he struggling a little bit while healthy?
I hate to be a pessimist, but let's be realistic about what he can bring to the table in '08. Jon Gruden's talking like the Bucs are about to get their Christmas gift early, but I'd be shocked if they got much use out of Cadillac. What are the odds that his knee, his timing and his confidence are all in game shape right now?
I really hope I'm wrong. Believe me, there's nothing more I'd like to see than Cadillac get his knee right and start murdering defenses all over the league, but I'd be shocked if he could outperform any one of the running backs on the Bucs roster, at least right away. Even including Michael Bennett.
All the luck, Cadillac, but ... take it slow and temper expectations, okay?