The NFL fans' guide to Black Friday
Does getting up well before sunrise to sit on a cold sidewalk in the rain outside of a department store strike you as a good way to spend a day off from work?
If so, then you're probably one of the millions of Americans who will spend today shopping, hoping to find a killer deal on that perfect gift for a loved one (or perhaps for yourself).
And as important as it is to find that perfect present for your mom or dad or child or husband or wife, make sure that during this holiday season you don't forget your favorite NFL team or players.
That's right, even millionaire athletes and coaches, even teams worth hundreds of millions of dollars, have needs and wants. Which is why, on this day when our nation goes to great lengths to save a few bucks on holiday shopping (I'm talking to you, guy who left Thanksgiving dinner early to get in line at Best Buy) we offer this Black Friday shopping list for some of the teams and people in the NFL who are in need this holiday season.
For Seahawks coach Pete Carroll: Challenge flag consultant. Carroll is just 1-for-5 this season when he throws the red flag, the worst success rate for any coach who has made more than two challenges. Against Detroit, Carroll said a "hormonal upsurge" led him to challenge a 9-yard completion by the Lions even though a defensive penalty would have given the Lions a first down if the pass was incomplete (which, by the way, it wasn't). It was the second time in as many seasons Carroll has used hormones to explain an odd decision. So come to think of it, if we can't get Carroll a flag consultant, how about a good endocrinologist?
For Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald: A real quarterback. At this point, Fitzgerald is like the little boy who asks Santa for a BB gun, or the girl asking for a pony. Year after year they ask, and year after year they end up looking under the tree only to be disappointed when they see socks. Or an ugly sweater. Or John Skelton.
For the NFL replacement officials: Happiness in their jobs officiating high school and small college games, because nobody wants to see them back in the NFL anytime soon. Especially not Packers fans.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers: Throwback uniforms that don't remind us of bumblebees. Either that, or antennae that they can attach to their helmets when they wear said throwbacks.
For Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson: A couple more inches of height. ... Wait, what's that? He's not too short after all? Well then, how about for Wilson we get him a career free of questions about his height.
For Tim Tebow: Another shot at starting, so he no longer has to be the world's most famous personal protector on a punt team.
For the New York Giants: More doubters. At this time last year, the question wasn't whether the Giants were title contenders, but rather whether they were a playoff team and if coach Tom Coughlin was on the hot seat. Before their latest midseason swoon, people were wondering if the Giants were the best team in the NFC. That just won't cut it for a team that seems to thrive on being doubted.
For Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson: Remarkable comebacks from very serious injuries. ... No wait, they both already got that. They're good.
For the Chicago Bears: Actually, don't buy them anything. Cornerback and takeaway machine Charles Tillman will just take whatever they need.
For the New Orleans Saints: A do-over on September. After starting the year 0-4, the Saints look like an NFC power again after winning four of their past five games. But, hey, in their defense, it's pretty tough to start quickly when you open the season with an interim head coach (Aaron Kromer) who is filling in for the suspended interim head coach (Joe Vitt, suspended six games) who would eventually take over for suspended head coach Sean Payton, who is out for the season. And yes, that power structure was set up by a general manager, Mickey Loomis, who was suspended for the first eight games of the season.
For the Washington Redskins: Years and years of good health for rookie Robert Griffin III, who in less than a season is already one of the most exciting players in the NFL, but whose running ability has also put him in harms way a few too many times this year.
For Seahawks receiver Golden Tate: A chance to go back to simpler times when he was known as that precocious rookie who stole a maple bar, not an NFL villain who helped steal a victory from Green Bay.
For Packers safety M.D. Jennings: Somebody to remind him that, on a Hail Mary at the end of a game, he should just knock the ball down.
For the Jacksonville Jaguars: A full stadium. And a first-round quarterback who doesn't get badly outplayed by backup Chad Henne. And a second victory. And ... Oh who are we kidding? The Jags need a lot this holiday season. But on the plus side, they did draft a punter five picks before the Seahawks found their starting quarterback.
For the Philadelphia Eagles: Oh forget it, we're running out of space, and this would take way too long.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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