I wept at points while reading this column by Bill Simmons.
When Neil O’Donnell was dragging down the Jets in the mid-’90s, my buddy Geoff and I were roommates in Boston. We had spent two solid seasons imitating O’Donnell’s thick New York accent from the news conference after he signed with them ("I was brought here to win games â€¦ I’m a winn-ah â€¦") every time he screwed up for them. It just never got old.
For Christmas in ’97, Geoff gave me an autographed O’Donnell football he won in a charity auction. This was an authentic NFL football, exactly like the one they used during games, only Geoff landed it for $50. In other words, O’Donnell’s signature had devalued the football by almost half. This brought us endless amounts of joy. We went outside and played catch in a parking lot, with no regard for the wear and tear on O’Donnell’s signature. If anything, we were intentionally trying to scuff the ball up to make it go away. Now that, my friends, is a great NFL-related Christmas gift.
If you think about it long enough, the most depressing NFL gift is pretty self evident but here are a couple that I enjoyed.
41. Tyson in Ottawa: "How about this for worst gift … a $44.95 framed picture of Braylon Edwards dropping a catch? Could they have found just one pic of him catching one? Apparently not."
(BS: This got me thinking of an idea for next season — what if the Browns saved every game ball that Edwards dropped during the ’08 season and auctioned them afterward as a collector’s set? Would it go for $1,500, $3,000, $4,500? Imagine a sports bar buying it and building a special shelf behind the bar to accommodate 27 dropped footballs from Braylon? The Browns fans would go there just to stare at it the same way people stare at the Grand Canyon. I would strongly consider this idea for next season.)
36. If you’re dressing your infant daughter like a Lions cheerleader this winter, you’re basically announcing, "I want my little girl to grow up with no self-esteem whatsoever and eventually go into porn."
Seriously, will anyone outside of the Ford family buy anything Lions related this season. I mean the are winless and their fans donâ€™t even care enough to boo anymore. How bad is the economy in Michigan that people donâ€™t even care enough to hate what could be the worst football team in the history of the NFL?
26. I tried to think of even one reason why someone would spend $209.99 on an Ashley Lelie-autographed football and here’s what I came up with: If you won the "Madden Nation" Super Bowl with Denver thanks to a "Hail Mary" pass to Lelie, so you wanted a little memento to remember what happened. That’s it. There are no other reasons.
22. We’ve linked to this before but couldn’t leave it out: It’s your very own St. Louis Rams doormat for just $61! This doubles as their 2008 team picture so you’re really getting two gifts for the price of one.
21. Can you think of a worse ex-football player to delve into the barbecue business than Tony Siragusa? Me neither. When I look at the Goose, I don’t think about tasty food â€¦ I think about somebody coming out of my guest bathroom with an "I wouldn’t go in there" face. And I don’t think I’m alone. No matter. For nearly $100, you can order the Goose’s special BBQ pulled pork and baby back BBQ ribs for any friend who loves cooking â€¦ and he will ultimately hate you for giving him that gift.
20. Tom Mertin in Buffalo: "Quick announcement: If anyone gets me a gift from the Bills/Toronto shop, I will burn their Christmas tree and pee on the ashes."
(BS: In last week’s column, I predicted Toronto fans would lift the Bills for three hours like an unmarried cougar throwing themselves at a married guy in the office. What I didn’t realize was that somebody would spike the cougar’s drink. Good God. Has there ever been a worse crowd in NFL history? I thought the Toronto fans were going to start "We don’t want you!" and "Thanks anyway, we’re all set!" chants.)
15. You only have $139 to spend on a Christmas gift. Do you go with an autographed Sports Illustrated cover of Ryan Leaf or one of Art Schlichter? I mean, that’s like choosing between Wilt and Russell.
I had an Ottawa Rough Rider card of Art Schlichter after he washed out of the NFL. For those of you wondering if my beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders used to be in Ottawa, they didnâ€™t. The CFL was short of team names and we had two teams of the same name.
4. Not to make light of the Rae Carruth saga, but what kind of country are we living in when (A) his autographed photo goes for $20 and (B) the description for the photo reads, "1997 Leaf Signature 8×10 photo card with certified autograph of former Carolina Panthers and Colorado Buffaloes receiver Rae Carruth, now serving prison time for conspiracy to commit murder." Were the last nine words thrown in there to entice buyers or something? You know, I was on the fence, but now that I know that he’s in jail for conspiracy to commit murder, I’m in! If you have a felon-memorabilia fetish, don’t forget to splurge for Nate Newton’s signed football for $99. And any time you can get a signed Bam Morris photo for $55, you have to step in.
3. Here’s a Chiefs helmet signed by Priest Holmes and Trent Green, the perfect gift for anyone who wants to play a fun game of tackle football in a helmet blessed by two guys whose careers were plagued by concussions and vertebrae injuries. It’s like buying a haunted house. And get this, it’s only $899 dollars! I’m gonna wager that this item will be going on sale soon.
Iâ€™ll take one of each of these please.