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Foot-ball

I've always been curious about the use of the name "football" in describing the game played in the NFL. In the rest of the world, a sport was already named football - yet somehow it wound up being called soccer in America, so that this other NFL sport could take its name. But NFL players barely ever use their feet to control the ball. What gives?

While Thierry Henry was busy using his hands to beat Ireland and get into the World Cup in the sport of European "futbol," Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme contributed to foot-use in American football when he threw the ball directly into the foot of his receiver, Steve Smith. Jet cornerback Darrelle Revis then pulled a "Tony Romo."

A "Tony Romo" is of course anytime one is the beneficiary of absurd luck - so named for a game against the Redskins a couple years ago. While Romo was calling out the snap count, he looked to his right, presumably evaluating the defensive coverage. Through some miscommunication, the ball was hiked to him early, bounced of his helmet and directly into the hands of Cowboy running back Marion Barber, who ran for a gain. Thus, the "Tony Romo" was born.

At first, I thought that was Vince Young's M.O. - pulling a Tony Romo. As he came out of college and started quarterbacking for the Titans, I was skeptical of his abilities. Were the Titans winning because of Vince Young, or in spite of him? When he was benched last year that seemed to settle the matter.

But then the Titans went 0-6 this season. Out of the ashes, Young lined up under center for Tennessee and has won five straight games. Inconceivably, the Titans are now in the playoff discussion, and Young's career has been revived.

Of course, the Titans also have Chris Johnson - a team unto himself. He is the inspiration for the following list of things according to speed:\n

    \n
  1. Chris Johnson
  2. \n
  3. Warp 9
  4. \n
  5. Light
  6. \n
  7. How quickly Jay Cutler can throw his first interception in a game.
  8. \n
  9. How quickly Young can turn around a season.
  10. \n
  11. The speed at which a Redskin lead evaporates.
  12. \n
\nAnd speaking of evaporating leads, what is going on with the Texans? Giving up a 17-0 lead to the Colts - and this time Sage Rosenfels wasn't even there to screw it up.

So with the collapse by the Texans and the Patriots' poor showing when they played the Saints on Monday Night Football, the NFL has two 11-0 teams for the first time in history.

New Orleans is absolutely dominating its division, with the next closest team being the 6-5 Falcons. And the Falcons, it should be noted, just managed to squeak by the Bucs last weekend after losing Matt Ryan to the ever-dreaded turf toe.

I always thought turf toe sounded like a namby-pamby injury until I figured out why they don't call it by its real name: Metatarsalphalangeal joint sprain. Ouch.

No doubt Atlanta will need Ryan back as it vies for a spot in the playoffs, which are inching closer and closer.

As the pundits argue about what teams are in, out, or on the bubble, I thought I'd share an interesting set of statistics I came across regarding teams' chances of making the playoffs. Footballoutsiders.com recently presented what it refers to as "innovative statistics." According to this site, the following are teams' chances of making the playoffs:

Saints: 99.99 percent\nColts: 99.99 percent

Hard to argue with these. Then, coming in nine-hundredths of a point behind is Minnesota.

Vikings: 99.9 percent

And then rounding out the top five:

Arizona: 97.4 percent\nNew England: 95.1 percent

Surprisingly, the Colts only have a 22.7 percent chance to win it all, whereas Tampa Bay has a 40.9 percent chance to get the first pick in the draft next year.

So, if you were wondering whether the Colts are as good as the Bucs are bad, the answer is no.

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