The Outsider’s Report: Special Desert Disaster Edition

By Contributor Daniel in MI

The staff just sat in stunned silence, staring: the horror, the horror. No, not at the game – at the empty tequila bottle. It wasn’t long before the pain of the game would set in and everyone knew it. The waiting really is the hardest part. There’s been a lot of talk about this past week. Maybe too much talk. This week was not a bye week, it was Sunday. Bloody Sunday. But, the TOSR (The Outsider’s Report) staff are quasi-professionals, and no matter how lousy the team looks, or how idiotic the coaching, and how blind the refs are, we’ll keep on producing the best information available. Or, at least we’ll keep on writing TOSR which a lot is easier. While we at TOSR may not have all the niceties of other media outlets, such as “facts” or “information” or “contacts” or any of that candy-ass stuff, we do have two things going for us: 1) it’s free; and 2) our word processor has a spill cheque and gramer edditer. Crud. We may not write things the way they are, but we do write things the way they seem to be, which is almost as good, and perhaps better. But enough about us…do we look fat in these pants?

Much to talk about this week, starting with the media storm and PR headaches created when a popular Giants Tight End voiced negative opinions regarding a particular “lifestyle” on a morning radio show, and the resultant outcry from those who felt slighted

That’s right, Darnell Dinkins, the third TE expressed revulsion at the “playboy” lifestyle on NPR’s “The Writer’s Almanac” with shock-jock Garrison Kiellor. “You know, those guys with their red smoking jackets and the slippers,” the TE ranted quietly, “they’re always walking around in bathrobes, even at noon! If I’d known there were any of those guys on my college team, no way would I have tolerated that. And, I don’t know if we have any here, but it’s a concern. We share a locker room! If they’re having their butlers draw them baths with expensive European bathsalts, that would be uncomfortable. Plus, you ever try to get the scent of pipe tobacco out of your jersey?” Later, Dinkins wisely apologized, saying he was only trying to be sardonic, with a touch of whimsical nostalgia, and did not mean to offend anyone (except playboys).

The Giants tried not to let the controversy distract them from their half-hearted preparation for the Arizona Cardinals. An issue the team considered was how they would deal with the crowd noise generated by either of the fans that still attend games in Arizona. “We had to practice for it,” explained Head Coach Jim Fassel when we caught up with him diagramming red zone plays that hinge on practice squad players. “We practiced in the bubble, with no crowd or reporters. Guys whispered on the sidelines. Still, we had to get some sound canceling machines to really recreate that Arizona tranquility. We practiced just saying signals and line-calls in our normal speaking voices to avoid yelling needlessly. You don’t want someone getting a migraine from being yelled at when it’s so quiet.”

Kerry Collins knew it could be a factor for him. “That kind of silence can really get into your head,” Collins told us. “A serene place like their stadium gives you the space to really think about things…you know: life, why we’re all here, and where is here anyway, and if, uh, this is here what’s, like, over there…and…Oh, I don’t know. Let’s face it, that’s not really my strong suite. I had to concentrate on not concentrating. I think.” Based on his performance, it would seem the silence may not have been deafening, but it was clearly dumbing.

Despite all this, there really is only one Super-Big-Gulp, Biggie-sized story this week, and that was about “The Decision” which led to “The Throw” and “The Interception” and “The Return” and “The Touchdown” and “The Loss” and “The Excuses” and “The Whining” which all resulted from “The Sucking.” At first, everyone was ready to crucify OC Sean Payton, and he stepped up and bravely demonstrated a keen insight into the three letters that show Sean’s HC potential: WCO? No, CYA. “I said we should kneel on it, Jim is the one who wanted to throw it. Jim! Not me! I wanted to kneel! I begged him to kneel! I tried to rip off Jim’s headset and wrestle him to the ground, but I was too late. Too late to stop Jim who called the play, even though I said kneel like the penitent.” To his credit, Jim Fassel knew how to take the heat. “Well, it was my call and I made it. I trusted Kerry Collins not to suck, and be a total moron again. But, I’ll learn from this, and I’ll never trust Kerry again. No more being aggressive. No more going on 4th down. No more throwing late in the quarter. I guess we just can’t HAVE nice things, now can we! And he hangs his jersey on wire hangers! WIRE HANGERS! From now on, we’ll kneel on the ball on every play, including when we kickoff. ”

Speaking of abysmal performances, it seemed to our eagle-eyed reporters that the offense was out of synch against the Cardinals, and accomplished little. We found Giants OC Sean Payton erasing late 2nd quarter swing passes from his laminated charts and he saw it differently. “We came into this game with a goal: to score when we got near their end zone. We came up with two clever schemes to do this: first we changed the hue of the zone from red to green. That was key because the color of a zone can make a big difference. Green means go, see, and red means stop, so with that kind of complex analysis, we knew we were ready to ‘go'(see how that works, hmm?). Second, we decided to run where the defenders were ‘blocked’ instead of at the unblocked guys. A subtle change, blocked versus unblocked, but it can make all the difference. Third, we decided to use plays designed for players that fit three carefully selected criteria. They had to be, a) on our team; b) active for the game; and c) not out injured. Total success! Our ‘green zone’ offense ran for a TD right off the bat. So, mission accomplished.” We asked about the rest of the game. “You see, the New York fans are never satisfied. ‘Score when you’re down close! Score when you’re down close!’ That’s all I heard for weeks. We do that, and it’s ‘yeah, but you lost.’ I’m a wunderkind, not a guru. I can’t do everything!”

We needed more insight, so we found Jim Fassel practicing his referee directed histrionics. We asked if the defense deserved as much of the blame as the offense given how things unfolded. “Well, I put ‘Plan Scapegoat’ into effect again. I’ve been using this to great effect. As an offensive ‘guru’ it would look bad if the offense was always to blame. So, as soon as I realize our offense is mailing it in again, I make sure we leave the defense on the field as much as possible. Inevitably, they wear down and give up scores at the end to blow the game. Now, the blame is shared, it’s not all on the offense. Worked like charm when Coach Fox was the DC, and it works just as well with Coach Lynn. Distributed blame, that’s how you stay employed in this league. I hope.”

Another factor that can’t be overlooked was the referees who took 7 off the board for the Giants with a phantom holding call, and then were inconsistent about penalties calling Strahan for roughing but ignoring Tiki Barber being flung on a post-whistle high-amplitude throw (and back points). We caught up to head referee Mike Carrey polishing his knob (housework relaxes him) and he gave us his insight, “We’ve long hated the Giants, but we so rarely get a chance to express it,” said the zebra joyfully. “So much of our time is spent feigning objectivity, but it’s so nice to really stick it to the Giants like that. Did you see Strahan? That gap-toothed lummox had a hand on his face so much I thought that guy was going to put his fingers up his nostrils and use his head as a bowling ball. But, of course, I didn’t see that. So, Mr. Strahan, happy about taking the last towel at the hotel pool now, are you? And that holding call, how can a man hold with his arms extended like angle’s wings? But, of course, he must have held because we called it, didn’t we? Yeah, we did! So, Mr. Mara, how you like that decision in 1982 not to let me park in your space now, beeotch?”

Well, Giants fans, instead of worrying about let down games as we have the last couple of weeks, we can now rest easy knowing the shoe is on the other foot. We’ve now become a let down game for the Cowboys. Take that Cowboy fans!