Preseason Hotsheet

Brett Favre can still play in the NFL says the retired quarterback, speaking to the Eupora High School (Eupora, Mississippi) student council. Favre was in town for a press availability, part of his 2009 Whether ’Tis Nobler to Play or Not to Play Tour, shaking hands, selling CDs, and talking to himself in the boys’ bathroom.

From Lisa’s “Yes, You CAN Go Home Again” scrapbook. Carolina fans will remember last season’s final game. The Panthers won the NFC South with a 12-4 record and rolled into the NFC Divisional Round, playing at home against the 9-7 Arizona Cardinals, owners of lowest seed in the NFC postseason. The cats were favored by ten points, which counts as nothing when put next to five interceptions and one fumble. Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme was a one-man team destroyer that day, fearlessly providing Arizona with a 33-13 victory and along the way seeing to it that the Cardinals beat the spread by 30 points.

Not that easy to do. It takes longer than you’d think to throw five interceptions. Things got so bad Delhomme began apologizing to his teammates while huddling up for the next disappointment.

Michael Vick, listen up: Delhomme scored a $42.5 million contract extension, good through 2014, off that performance.

Dumbest Off-Season Arrest: The Cincinnati Bengals franchise is disqualified because this award is for individual achievement. And, let’s face it, there is only one Plaxico Burress, a used-to-be wide receiver for the New York Giants and man enough to shoot himself in the thigh, with his own gun, inside a Manhattan nightclub. This, in a town where liberals rule, guns are banned, and cigarettes cost $9 a pack.

AFC East: How ’bout them Buffalo Bills? Jake Emen has called Bills QB Trent Edwards “Without a doubt the most secretly lousy player in the NFL.” By the way, I nominate this as the perfect sentence — nothing can be added, nothing can be taken away. T.O. is passing through, the Bills are still stuck with a 90-year-old owner, a home field located in a city no one wants to think about, much less visit. There are four teams in the AFC East. Buffalo has a death grip on last place.

AFC North: How ’bout them Pittsburgh Steelers? They could be interesting in an under-the-radar sort of way. Pittsburgh has 20 starters coming back from last year, including: Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker, Hines Ward, Casey Hampton, James Farrior, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu. All Pro-Bowlers.

In 2008, Pittsburgh played the NFC East and AFC South, went 12-4, all their losses coming out of those two conferences (Indianapolis, Philadelphia, the New York Giants, and Tennessee).

This year Pittsburgh plays the AFC West and NFC North, going up against the functionally disabled franchises of Detroit, Kansas City, Oakland, and San Diego. Last year the AFC West and NFC North posted a 48-80 record and no team in the AFC West had a winning record. Pittsburgh will be in the playoffs this year whether they like it or not.

AFC South: Why?

AFC West: If being crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then the AFC West is a lunatic asylum. Looks like another 8-8 conference champion. Pick one: San Diego or Denver.

NFC East: How ’bout them Washington Redskins? Money has an unsavory reputation among Hollywood screenwriters. The rest of us know money will buy you almost anything. Unless you’re Daniel Snyder, billionaire, amusement park titan, owner of the Johnny Rockets restaurant chain, Red Zebra Broadcasting (radio), Dick Clark Productions, chairman of the board of Ventiv Health, and board member of McLeod USA, not to mention executive producer of Tom Cruise’s not-a-horrible-movie Valkyrie. There is more, but it’s the same sort of soul-killing low-rent business sludge that makes young children afraid to grow up.

None of these endeavors brought Snyder a gasp of admiration or one spark of recognition from humankind. But they did produce money. Snyder bought the Redskins in 1999 for $800 million. And yet, money, youth, arrogance, more money, and more money has not worked for Snyder. His team sucks again this year.

NFC South: How ’bout them Atlanta Falcons? Just when it seemed like owner Arthur Blank had blown up his franchise by allowing himself to be humiliated and toyed with by Bill Parcells and Michael Vick, the guy draws an inside straight with a rookie head coach and rookie QB. Atlanta made the 2008 playoffs with an 11-5 record and looks to do the same this year.

NFC North: See Eupora High School.

NFC West: Wanna bet Arizona returns to the Super Bowl? How much money do you have on you?

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