by Gerald Udowiczenko
Well that's the last time I pat myself on the back about how good
an offensive unit we have. Was that the kiss-of-death or what?
Looks like I won't be going unbeaten this season. But considering
the teams I have to play, including the Superbowl Champions this week.
The rest of my division (Buffalo, Miami & the Jets), Minnesota and
the 49ers on Inter-Conference games and some difficult looking AFC games
(especially Oakland on current form), I was never going to do it now was
The editorial was a little long last week, so I'll cut it short
now. Unless people liked reading my thoughts? Now that's just a silly
idea. I'm sure the first thing people look for is the Rammys. Then
to see how they were predicted to do and then maybe, they read the rest
of the newsletter? Am I right? Write in and let us know.
Many thanks as always to the following people for sending contributions.
Graham, Brucey, Dave and Pat. Special thanks must also go to the NFL web
site, which helped out with an item or two. Bet you can't guess which
W1) @ BB (2-0,
W2) Last time : wk 9, 2003 (0 - 38)
Gerald : The Titans came to life last week
and should give a better account of themselves then the last time these
two met. But the end result will still be the same. Bills by 10.
Graham : Remarkable effort by Titans last week,
but I doubt they'll be able to repeat it. BB 10.
SPLATT : Buffalo by 11.
Richard : Bills by 4.
W12) @ NE (1-1,
L1) Last time : wk 4, 2003 (20 - 20 OT)
Gerald : No comment!
Graham : Pats D has been a big disappointment
to date. They'll need to step up a few gears this week if they're not
to be steamrolled by the Browns. CL 10.
SPLATT : Cleveland by 4.
Richard : Browns by 14.
W2) @ MD (0-2,
L2) Last time : wk 7, 2003 (30 - 24 OT)
Gerald : The Raiders left it very late last
week to win their game. While the Fish looked unlucky to lose. Tough one
to call, as the Raiders have shown that they know how to win. But the
Fish are due a break. Fish by 3.
Graham : Raiders D vs Miami offence. Could
be a cracker. Fish due a few breaks. MD 6.
SPLATT : Miami by 14.
Richard : Fish by 7.
L2) @ NY (2-0,
W2) Last time : wk 11, 2003 (37 - 28)
Gerald : The Jets are the form team and even
though they were lucky to win last week, shouldn't have too many problems
with a Chiefs team that is struggling to find their offence of last season.
Jet by 10.
Graham : Two teams who've made contrasting
starts. In-form Jets should keep soaring. NJ 7.
SPLATT : New York by 4.
Richard : Jets by 10.
L2) @ PS (0-2,
L8) Last time : wk 4, 2003 (24 - 26)
Gerald : The last time these two met it was
close. Can't see it being any different this time, though the result may
well be, as the Steelers have failed to impressive so far. Hawks by 10.
Graham : Both desperate for a win. Hard to
call, but I'll go with the hometown Steelers. PS 1.
SPLATT : Pittsburgh by 3.
Richard : Steelers by 6.
W2) @ CI (0-2,
L2) Last time : wk 4, 2003 (31 - 29)
Gerald : A great offensive performance last
week from the Broncos doesn't bold well for the Bengals. But they have
kept it close the last two games, so close in fact that it's had to be
settled in overtime. But I can't honestly see them being able to keep
it that close, not unless they can force lots of turnovers? Broncos by
Graham : Can the ex-Diddley kings pull off
a third straight OT loss? Surely life can't be that cruel! DB 7.
SPLATT : Denver by 13.
Richard : Bengals by 4.
W4) @ WR (2-0,
W3) Last time : wk 11, 2003 (11 - 14)
Gerald : Like Graham said, Game of the Week.
Both teams have shown they can score points, though the Vikes have the
edge at the moment. The Skins ĪD' is still there, though after last week,
they still seem to be slightly asleep. This week, should see them wide
awake, as the Vikes do have one hell of an offence. If they can be contained
(the Vikes) they will struggle and the Skins are just the team to do it.
Skins by 3.
Graham : Game of the Week. Irresistible Force
vs Immovable Object. I just favour the Skins. WR 3.
SPLATT : Washington by 6.
Richard : Viking by 3.
W6) @ PE (2-0,
W2) Last time : wk 9, 2003 (7 - 23)
Gerald : The Bears had a great day on both
sides of the ball last week and will need to reproduce that kind of form
if they're to have any kind of a chance against the Eagles. Jon will have
been happy with the result, though probably a little concerned that his
QB had a poor day. This is a repeat of last seasons Championship Game.
Who will haven't learnt more? Eagles by 3.
Graham : A repeat of last year's Championship
Game. Eagles offence had better improve on last week. I think they will.
SPLATT : Philadelphia by 4.
Richard : Eagles by 7.
W1) @ DC (0-2,
L2) Last time : wk 3, 2003 (16 - 31)
Gerald : Last season the Boyz ran rampant against
a Falcons team that was still trying to find itself. This season, they
have found themselves. Falcons by 13.
Graham : It's been a tough start for the Boys.
They have a shot here but the Falcons have gained a little bit of steel.
Could be very close. AF 1.
SPLATT : Atlanta by 2.
Richard : Falcons by 4.
L2) @ AC (0-2,
L15) Last time : wk 3, 2003 (24 - 30 OT)
Gerald : Both teams need the win to kick start
their seasons. The Saints tried to surprise the Rams last week and failed
quite spectacularly (hate to think what the score who have been had the
Saints not Played Up?). The Cards seem to have an offence, but just can
seem to convert yardage into points. The Saints should really win, but
I'm tempted to go for the Cards to break that loosing streak of theirs.
Cards by 2.
Graham : Saints surprisingly poor last week,
while Cards were unexpectedly tough. That makes this harder to predict,
but I still think the Saints ought to come out on top. NS 3.
SPLATT : New Orleans by 10.
Richard : Saints by 1.
L1) @ DL (0-2,
L3) Last time : wk 11, 2003 (14 - 17)
Gerald : Touch one to call as both teams could
easily win the game. But they could also quite foreseeable throw it away.
I'll go with the Lions to break their duck. Lions by 3.
Graham : The Curse of the Lions is still that
offence. Vikes and Bears could feasibly lose this week so a win keeps
Detroit in the hunt. And they need it really badly. DL 1.
SPLATT : San Francisco by 1.
Richard : Lions by 4.
W20) @ TB (0-2,
L3) Last time : wk 7, 2003 (31 - 10)
Gerald : After last weeks win against a team
playing up, the Rams are looking once again one of the teams to beat in
the NFC. Which doesn't really look good for the Buccs, who are trying
to get their season started. I don't think it will be that one-sided,
but I just can't see the Rams loosing. Rams by 10.
Graham : I guess we'll be expected to win this
by a lot. We've been pretty ruthless (and a little bit more conservative)
so far this season. Hopefully it'll be more of the same.
SPLATT : St Louis by 19.
Richard : Rams by 10.
by Graham Canwell (Week 2)
||Even more monstrous than the Pats last week, and
against the same team (the Bengals, whose D could probably do with
a lie down). Like the Pats had an extra quarter, but 39 first downs,
206 rush yards, 308 pass yards (can anyone remember any other 200+
rush, 300+ pass performances?) is a magnificent effort. Browns (as
usual) and Broncos were great too, and the Fish again managed a ton
of yards in vain.
||Brought the Pats crashing back down to earth after
their week 1 exploits. It was generally another good week for offences,
so this was the best defensive effort by some way. Seems a bit of
role reversal in the AFC this week since the Jets are normally better
known for offence and the Titans for defence
||Haven't noticed the Jets featuring much in
anyone's predicted honours but they have made a terrific start
and look to have rustled up a much better D than last year. Neil Henderson's
efforts with perennial losers Oakland are worthy of mention too.
||Nowhere near as much offence in the NFC, which
seems to be rather more defensive than the AFC. The Redskins got their
ground game pounding out the yards again this week and hit the magic
30 first down mark. Vikings put in another impressive performance
and almost won the award for the second week running.
||Had a bit of a field day against the (admittedly
dodgy) offence of the Lions. Needed it too, as their own offence was
put under a fair bit of pressure. Elsewhere, the Cards D struggled
heroically to keep them in contention against the heavily-favoured
Eagles while the Rams defensive unit gave the Saints UP playing offence
a torrid time in St. Louis
||Won a crucial divisional matchup with the Niners
and look well poised to make an overdue run at the playoffs. Most
games this week went to the favoured teams, who generally went about
their business with unspectacular professional efficiency. More sparks
may well fly next week.
||Among his many talents, Richard now proves he
can Diddle too. Hugely outgained by the Fish, and only managed to
win the turnover battle by one. Also considered the Eagles for this,
who managed the unexpected feat of being comfortably outgained in
yardage at home by the Cards.
Gerald to Julian : Should be an interesting
game this week? Just hope I can find my defence from last season, otherwise
I fear the worst.
Gerald to Paul G : Looks like you're going
to start hating overtime games a lot, unless you can win a few?
Gerald to Martin : Don't worry about Playing-Up
and getting tanked. In the past I have used it in the regular season and
I don't recall it ever working for me. In most cases I was like you, on
the wrong end of a tanking.
Graham to Gerald : You don't look much like
the Ravens his year (although the offence is heading in the right direction!).
Graham to AFC : I thought this was supposed
to be a defensive league. I think you guys belong somewhere else.
Graham to Jon : Yes, Chris is still in form.
I just a shade worried he'll get more distracted as the season goes on
and our so-far overachieving D gets worse . . .
Pat to Coach Horne : Good job. Perhaps a
bit too good.
Pat to SPLATT, Gerald, Graham and Richard :
All correct, but the gold star goes to Graham, and even he underestimated!
Pat to Graham : I don't fancy anything at
the moment - let alone a schedule.
Pat to All other heavy losers : Write in
and keep me company.
Brucey to All : Still packing the NFLAB website
with more and more stuff.
Brucey to Julian : You may have noticed I
added your team to the intro. Shame there's no half-decent logo.
Brucey to Pat : Need to sort out yer maths.
SPLATT appears to be doing rather well this year.
Brucey to SPLATT : Maybe if you predicted my
own game as a win, I may have a chance.
Brucey to Paul S : Go Skins !!!
||Married to Laura, 2nd anniversary just gone.
||Contentedly in Sheffield
|Fav NFL Team
||Ice Hockey (a regular at Sheffield Steelers home games)
My wife introduced me to the sport. Armchair spectator of Rugby Union,
Golf (highlights), F1, other motor sports sometimes.
||I used to be in to heavy metal, Kiss, Rainbow, Aerosmith,
The Tubes, but not so much these days. Anything else really as long
as I can make sense of the words and the tunes catchy.
||Ice Hockey (see above), reading, crosswords, catching
up with friends and my newest acquisition - a playstation (not a PS2
though). I've coached the Buccs to 7 straight Superbowl victories,
your dreams can come true. O.K so it's not real and it is on
the easy level, but who cares, it's just a bit of harmless fun.
||At the moment, the people running (did I say running?)
the Ice Hockey Superleague (ISL). There is a dispute about which league,
last seasons Steelers team will play in after the cockups made by
the ISL. They think the paying public only want to see an ISL team
called the Sheffield Steelers and would be prepared to travel to Nottingham
to see them. Nottingham are our bitter enemies (I must add that animosity
is confined to game time) and they expect Sheffield fans to watch
a Sheffield team play out of the Nottingham Arena. Are they completely
off their heads!. I hope we are successful in having a team play in
the lower league, at the Sheffield Arena and can stick two fingers
up to the ISL. Ouch!......I just fell off my soapbox. And finally
- Big Brother (Big turn off), Survivor (How did this get on TV) Castaway
(They should have left the series on the desert island)
by Pat Ratcliffe
At the training ground, Tuesday morning, on the first get-together
after Black Sunday, one of the players was overheard to say something
along the lines that Mickey Mouse might be a better coach than the
incumbent. The question is whether that was based on long-term opinions
or just on the aftermath of a severe thrashing at the hands on the
Browns and Master-in-Charge.
At the end of the first 1/4 the Pitt coaching team were relatively
happy, score level and the game proceeding as planned. But the change
of direction brought dropped passes, the return of the porous defence
and only 14 yards on offence - the only good thing being a 56 yard
KO return. 12 points down at the 1/2. Still chances to exit with
After the break it was go to the ground - because we weren't
allowed to go to the air - and even then we fumbled the snap twice
- some big brown bullies' bad breath bellowing at the delicate inexperienced
QB! And then it got worse! Only one 1st down allowed by the Browns
until they were 40 points up, and not one positive passing yard
in the entire second half. (Secretly, we expected to lose, but this
was something different.) If it had been in the ring, it would have
been stopped. If it had been in court, the accused would have changed
his plea to guilty to avoid further humiliation
We could go quiet, and hide and even ask for a transfer, but Week
14 approaches too damn soon for my liking, and that's when I want
to be ready.
A 2 - 14 season will do me, if the 2 are in Week 9 and 14 - that's
assuming I don't get sacked in the meantime. Hi there Seahawks!
Be gentle on us. We're bruised and battered, but not bowed.
The Front Office of the bedraggled Steelers, have issued the following
"Head Coach Ratcliffe has been sent to a Coaching Clinic
in the south of France with immediate effect. He will be absent
from the sideline for the next three matches, and should return
in charge for the road trip to the Deep South, New Orleans clash
in Week 6. This departure is in no way connected with the Week 2
defeat (thrashing) of the team, at the hands of Coach Horne. The
owner has the utmost confidence in the ability of the Coach, and
is convinced that a turnaround is imminent."
Someone was heard to quip that Coach Ratcliffe was going away to
learn HOW to coach, and that the turnaround would be a future announcement
of his sacking if he didn't get things right soon. A wag replied
that the results of the team could only improve in Coach Ratcliffe's
Prime Time goes quietly into retirement
July 27, 2001
Backed into a corner, the world's flashiest cornerback made a very
Deion Sanders retired from the NFL on Friday, striking a deal and
cutting his losses rather than report to a Washington Redskins team
he had disavowed.
The announcement didn't come with any Prime Time flash or sentiment
or any glowing words -- rather just as a one-paragraph announcement
in which Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer told how events unfolded
with Sanders' agent, Eugene Parker.
"It was evident from his comments that Deion Sanders did
not want to play football," Schottenheimer said.
"With that understanding, both parties have reached a mutually
beneficial agreement. Deion Sanders will retire as a National Football
League player, and a financial agreement has been reached."
The announcement comes one day after Sanders left the Syracuse SkyChiefs
minor league baseball team, and two days before he was obligated
to report to the Redskins' training camp in Carlisle, Pa.
Sanders had previously said he did not want to play for the Redskins
this season, but the seven-year contract he signed last year obligated
him to report to camp unless he was playing major league baseball.
Sanders was in the majors earlier this year with the Cincinnati
Reds, but he was cut July 17 after batting just .173.
Sanders' abrupt retirement -- coupled with his baseball failure
-- would appear to bring to a sudden end the two-sport career of
one of the most dynamic showman in sports in the last decade. Sanders
combined flair with talent: The seven-time Pro Bowl selection is
considered one of the greatest cornerbacks of all time, and is the
only person to play in both the World Series and the Super Bowl.
Barring a change of heart it appears to spell the end of a Hall
of Fame career.
Sanders was the fifth overall draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons
in 1989. He spent one season (1994) with San Francisco, helped the
team win the Super Bowl and was named defensive player of the year
despite joining the team late because of baseball.
Sanders spent the next five seasons with the Cowboys before Redskins
owner Dan Snyder lured him to Washington last year, supposedly as
the final piece of a Super Bowl team. Instead, the Redskins went
In 1996, Sanders played regularly on both offence and defence for
the Cowboys, becoming the NFL's first two-way starter since Chuck
Bednarik in 1962. He is the only player in Super Bowl history to
have both a pass reception and an interception.
A master punt-returner, Sanders holds the NFL record with 18 touchdowns
on returns -- fumbles, kickoffs, punts and interceptions. He has
48 career interceptions, including eight returned for TDs.
Sanders' World Series appearance came in 1992 with the Atlanta Braves.
While it is hard to disagree that he was one of the best, his mouth
almost always put players and especially fans, backs up. I just
hope he stays quite in retirement, but I just can't see that
myself, can you?
Another player that retired and probably won't get as many
column inches as Deion is Scott Couper of the Scottish Claymores.
The last Claymore game of the season against Rein Fire was Scott
Couper's last, as he retired after 7 seasons with the Claymores.
The only Scotsman left in the side. His touchdown reception found
him all alone in the endzone for an easy catch. A fitting end to
a successful career.
Over 12,000 fans cheered the Claymores on even though they were
only playing for pride.
NFL on SKY
Not sure how many of you know about SKY's plans for this coming
season of NFL? If you read First Down, then I'm sure you know all
about it. As their letters pages have been full of complaints for the
past couple of weeks.
SKY has made the decision to move all American Football coverage to their
DIGITAL ONLY channel, Sky Sports Extra. This means that millions of viewers
on cable and ITV Digital will no longer be able to watch American Football.
At present ITV refuses to put ITV and ITV Sport on the Sky digital package.
Which means they will never get the full channel package in return from
SKY, which means no American Football for us. So until SKY moves NFL coverage
off SKY Sports Extra, or they supply SKY Sports Extra to the cable companies,
most of us will miss the coming season.
There is a petition that a number of people (me included) have signed
to try and convince SKY to move their coverage back to SKY Sports 1, 2
or 3. If you are interested have a look at,
In this weeks (probably last weeks when you read this) First Down the
Managing Director of NFL Europe has responded to the Sky Sports Extra
fiasco. Here is some of what he had to say:
'We are doing all we can to ensure that the NFL is seen by the widest
possible audience and that is the case in the upcoming season.....we are
currently discussing with Sky their plans for the season and expect more
information in the near future'.
When more details come to light I'd let you all know.
The above was put together from an article by Dave Marsdin (from his
web site endzone1) and comments made by Andrew Briggs on the Yahoo! Discussion
If you haven't done so already have a look at the following sites.
And lastly there is our own web site, maintained by Brucey and has so
much stuff on NFLAB, it could fill a couple of newsletters (now that's
a thought?) and can be found at,