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A true worst-case scenario

This may hurt a little, but let's consider the train wreck that is the NFC West.

The Rams and Seahawks are tied - for first - at 6-7, the 49ers sit one game back, and the Cardinals are still alive, in the most technical sense of the word, at 4-9. What lies ahead? Here's one man's nightmare . . . err . . . guess:

The Rams defeat Kansas City, then lose to the Niners and in Seattle.

The Seahawks fall to Atlanta and at Tampa Bay, then pull out the last game of the season vs. the Rams.

The 49ers defeat San Diego on Thursday (hey, the Chargers lost to the Raiders at home two weeks ago, so it could happen) and St. Louis, then are beaten by the Cardinals.

The Cardinals win in Carolina and against Dallas and the Niners at home.

That leaves us with a four-way tie at 7-9 atop the division and with MIT professors trying to decipher the league's tiebreaker rules.

The end result, one could hope, would be the entire NFC West's collapsing in on itself and disappearing into a black hole. Then we wouldn't have to deal with all that bad football anymore. (And if they could take the Raiders with them, all the better.)

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Going west?

The symbolism never ceases for the Minnesota Vikings when it comes to their stadium situation.

First, it's hard not to visualize the Metrodome roof's caving in last Sunday and not take it as a metaphor for the Vikings' 5-8 season.

Now the team is asking the public to literally bail it out, as in seeking volunteers to shovel snow out of the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium so it can host the Vikings' last "home" game of the season, Monday night against the Chicago Bears.

In the meantime, the Vikings' lease on the Metrodome is up in 2011, and Minnesota owner Zygi Wilf is trying to get public money for a new stadium. According to the Washington Post, even without committing money to a stadium, the state will be short $6.2 billion over the next two budget years.

Maybe Los Angeles will be calling.

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T.O. no, not again

Some news from Philadelphia's favorite former receiver, Terrell Owens. (You didn't think we were going to talk about Freddie Mitchell, did you?) On Tuesday's episode of The T.Ocho Show, the Bengals' wideout pointed to ownership and coaching to explain the team's 2-11 record, saying: "You start with the owner, you start with the coaches."

Coach Marvin Lewis and Owens' teammates downplayed the remarks on Wednesday. Running back Cedric Benson took the best approach: He watched something of higher quality on the boob tube.

"I think Scooby-Doo was on," Benson said. nolead begins

Cameramen and pundits are a bunch of Grinches

Cowboys fans and grim-faced, old-school football types are not too happy with Tashard Choice for getting Michael Vick's autograph on a glove after the Eagles beat the 'Boys last week. The signature was a gift for Choice's nephew, but the moment wound up on national TV and has been the subject of much debate.

Choice said the attention has "messed up my doggone surprise for my little nephew for Christmas."

The kid's 2 years old. He'll probably try to eat the glove and wind up licking off the autograph anyway.