The Office is just brilliant. No one does cringe-worthy comedy better than Steve Carell and that cast - except maybe Eddie Jordan and the 76ers.

If you've been following the local hoops team - and judging by the attendance figures, you haven't - you know Jordan sounds more like Carell's Michael Scott character every time he gives an interview. Like Scott, Jordan is prone to awkward, ill-timed remarks that make people around him shake their heads.

If coaching doesn't work out, maybe Jordan can land a part on that show. He's going to need the income pretty soon, because I'm fairly certain he's trying to get fired. How else do you explain what he said to reporters after the Sixers got thumped earlier this week?

"You know, we saw the same thing last year in the playoffs, and we saw it in the first game of the season," Jordan said of the team's lack of effort. "It's just a carbon copy. We try to address it. We try to get them with some more spirit and some more positive energy. It's just hard when you don't have that sort of internal leadership."

Where to begin? He ripped the players, and with good reason. No problem with that. But in so doing, he also took a not-so-tacit shot at his boy and personal protector, Sixers president and general manager Ed Stefanski - the man ultimately responsible for saddling poor, put-upon E.J. with a team lacking in spirit, energy, leadership and, hell, while we're being honest, ability. There are few universal employment rules, but one of them is that criticizing the boss - even when the boss is an overmatched buffoon - is the surest way to get canned.

Even better and more unbelievable: Jordan said he tries to address the team's myriad problems but essentially admitted he hasn't had any luck. In other words, by his own admission, the coach can't coach. Not long thereafter, perhaps when the Wachovia Center laugh track went quiet, Jordan tried to take some of it back, or at least explain it away.

"Sometimes you control your emotions and sometimes you try, and sometimes there's temporary insanity along the line," Jordan explained.

And sometimes you should pack your bags in advance of being told to leave town. It's just good planning, and it saves everyone a lot of time.

The Sixers (currently 22-38; good seats still available) inexplicably decided before the trade deadline that their underachieving roster is super swell and would be left alone. That decision has worked out about as well as the others before it: signing Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand to long-term deals, bringing Allen Iverson back to Philly, trading for Jason Kapono, etc. Assuming Stefanski doesn't get fired himself (and that's a big assumption, but one column topic at a time), he ought to do the right thing for once and put Jordan out of his misery when the season ends. If not for Jordan's sanity, then for ours.

One of Jordan's jobs is to motivate his players and get the most out of them. Again, as he admitted, Jordan has failed miserably at that task. Another responsibility is to routinely pick out five players and send them onto the court to play bad basketball. Against the Suns this season, Jordan either miscounted (bad news for a guy who runs the Princeton offense) or figured his squad could use the extra help, because he put six guys on the court. And the Sixers still lost. It was the coaching equivalent of when Michael Scott somehow burned his foot on a George Foreman grill - you'd think something like that would be impossible.

For the moment, it's all fairly funny in a gallows-humor sort of way, but I doubt The Eddie Jordan Show will be as amusing if it gets picked up for a second season.

One of my all-time favorite video games, NBA Jam, will be rereleased this year. Recently, EA Sports held an online poll asking people to vote for the three 76ers who will be represented in the game. Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand and Allen Iverson made the cut - two guys who shouldn't be on the team and one who no longer is. You're probably extra excited now. . . . You can get the "Tiger app" on your iPhone now. It deletes texts from your phone and the phone of the person who receives your messes. That would have come in handy two ex-girlfriends ago. . . . NFL free agency begins today. Can't wait to see what the Eagles do. Yesterday, ESPN's John Clayton said he's "90 percent sure" all three quarterbacks will return to Philly next season. If that's true, then I'm 100 percent sure the City of Philadelphia should keep the riot police at the ready.

Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813

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