It gives me great pleasure to turn the controls over to my co-captain Zeus, for his assessment on the current state of NFL and collegiate football.

1. False Start – Five of the six NFC playoff teams from 2012 have gotten off to a rocky start in 2013. The Redskins, Packers, Vikings, Falcons and 49ers are a combined 3-12 through week 3. Only the 3-0 Seahawks have gotten out of the gate intact. And the conventional wisdom that the balance of power has shifted to the NFC has taken a big hit, at least in
September. So far, AFC 11, NFC 3.

2. Quick thoughts elsewhere

  • Didn’t see the bottom falling out so quickly for the Steelers and the Giants. As we like to say in the insurance business – that’s a darn shame.
  • The Texans, unmasked as frauds twice by the Patriots in 2012, are lucky to not be 0-3.
  • In San Francisco, Coach Harbaugh has not weathered the 49ers 1-2 start well and already looks to be on the verge of a psychotic breakdown.
  • It’s been shocking to see how poorly prepared the Redskins have been; there’s no way to be sure that Mike Shanahan’s mental faculties are still fully intact.

3. An emerging trend that apparently died in its infancy is the Read-Option offense. It says here that if a young quarterback cannot read defenses and accurately throw the ball, eventually, it will not matter how fast he can run.

4. The Choreographer – In Denver, the execution of even the most straightforward football play is a surreal ballet: part performance art, part unfathomable intrigue, part kabuki theater. Once the Offensive Coordinator makes the play call, The Choreographer embarks on wild frenzy of activity, the physical manifestations of which include violent arm flapping (might he actually leave the ground?), frantic finger pointing, various spastic contortions and other assorted involuntary frenetic bodily gyrations. The play that is ultimately run of course bears no semblance whatsoever to the original play. In addition to changing the call itself, The Choreographer must repeatedly shift the pass protection and manually rearrange all five eligible receivers (some multiple times). As the play clock nears expiration, The Choreographer’s frantic exhortations become increasingly shrill, culminating in a breathless crescendo of urgency (Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!). At last, mercifully, the ball is snapped. But not before The Choreographer has created the indelible impression in the minds of fans and (especially) media everywhere that HE is the actual coach, the real mastermind, the ultimate architect and that those poor saps in golf shirts standing in utter bewilderment on the sideline had nothing to do with the work of football art that is about to be revealed.

5. Fiasco – The Jets-Bills game on Sunday was actually a sociological experiment where aboriginal savages who had never been exposed to modern society were put in football uniforms, force fed mind-altering drugs, and summarily tossed onto a football field at gunpoint in front of 76,000 people. The result was a sloppy, incoherent morass of confusion, mayhem and ineptitude, resulting in a near unprecedented blizzard of yellow handkerchiefs and the hospitalization of several game officials due to exhaustion. CBS is reportedly seeking a refund from the NFL, arguing that what happened on the field had no redeeming social value and did not constitute “professional football” as defined in the agreement between the network and the league. Meanwhile, the FCC is reviewing the CBS broadcast to determine how many federal regulations and laws were broken.

6. Misdemeanor – One would think that the league would take a harsher view of blatant attempts to manipulate the agreed upon drug testing procedures. So how do we explain the six-week vacation given to Bronco LB Von Miller for his urine-soaked sleight-of-hand? Um, this is kind of a big deal. And yet, with the integrity of the game on the line, our hero, the intrepid Commissioner Blockhead, is working feverishly around the clock on other more compelling matters: levying severe financial penalties against players whose socks do not comply with the NFL’s stringent and uncompromising standards.

7. The Purity of Amateur Athletic Competition (Chapter 8,184) – Intense competition among the $NCAA$ Top 25 this past week, which included the following barn-burners:

#7 Louisville 72 – Florida International 0
#8 Florida State 54 – Bethune-Cookman 6
#13 UCLA 59 – New Mexico St. 13
#16 Miami 77 – Savannah St. 7
#17 Washington 56 – Idaho St. 0
#20 Baylor 70 – Louisiana-Monroe 7

It is unclear how this came about, but last 18 minute of the Louisville-Florida International game were played with the clock running, a minor annoyance to the Cardinals who only managed to add 21 points to their 51-0 lead. No question that there are great life lessons being taught here. Players, fans and coaches are right to consider this an integral part of the college experience.

8. Aesop’s Fables – Despite their 3-0 start, the 2013 New England Patriots are the Tortoise, not the Hare. Local fans should be indeed grateful for the blessings bestowed by the Great Schedule Maker. We have seen incremental improvements on the part of The Training Wheels Receiver Corps. Ever so gradually, the more experienced defense (never thought I’d get to say that again) is showing signs that their talent and experience might allow Coach Belichick to at long last return to his mad scientist proclivities on the defensive side of the ball. Slow but steady wins the race…

9. Wounded Animals – Miami’s win over Atlanta was unfortunate on several levels, but was especially ill-timed. The Falcons return home facing the daunting prospect of a 1-3 start. That means they will be bringing everything they’ve got. This is a great test for the Patriots. I love everything about this game. Everything, that is, except Cris Collinsworth.

A special thanks to Zeus for this week’s contribution.

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