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SPF T.I. Poll (Week 13): William Faulkner Provides Our Rankings

As the season nears conclusion, it's time to break down our 13 teams into groups, Faulkner-style.  With apologies to this great writer, the titles and themes of his novels and stories seemed to fit our group of thirteen as the season nears its close.

The Tall Men: Tennessee Titans

This Faulkner short story takes its title from the idea that "tall" men of the past cast long shadows on the present.  In the case of the Tennessee Titans, this overall young team has more than a few "tall men" casting shadows. 

Jeff Fisher is the NFL's longest tenured coach at the moment.  QB Kerry Collins is one of the league's oldest starters as well having ressurected his career in Nashville.

The way the Titans play also harkens back to another time.  Their strength lies in the trenches.  They don't beat teams as much as they beat them up.

At 11-1, Tennessee has assured themselves a spot in the playoff picture - perhaps as a #1 seed with home field throughout.


The Unvanquished:  Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Washington Redskins.

Like this Faulkner novel consisting of seven stories, we have seven SPF teams still fighting for a playoff berth.  These teams all have a puncher's chance of making the post season, but only one of the three NFC South teams (Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and Carolina) are guaranteed a spot depending on which one is the division winner.

Every one of these teams has played with a certain honor.  Most of them could go all the way if the cards fall in their favor.



The Reivers:  Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints

Faulkner's last novel is a comic adventure centering around a small band of thieves or reivers.  The Bengals and the Saints perfectly fit the description and spirit of the book.  These two teams are highly entertaining, both on the field and off.  However, deep down these two steal from their fans by failing to live up to even reasonable expectations. 

The Saints were expected to win the NFC South and are in last place.  The Bengals were at least expected to be decent and instead have but one win.

 Maybe these two towns are happy just to be entertained, but those of us at SPF wish that these teams could take the regular season a little more seriously in 2009.


As I Lay Dying:  Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars

These two franchises have been kidding themselves for half of a decade now.  Each year, they fool themselves into thinking that they are just about to turn the corner with a young group of scrappy players on the verge of greatness.  Instead, both teams are merely decent at best groupings of average to above-average players.

Each team is also led by relatively young coaches whose resumes seem a little light to get as many chances as they have to date.  Jack Del Rio has done a little more than Gary Kubiak, but that's only because he inherited a better core of players from Jacksonville's old coach, Tom Coughlin.

Looking at both rosters, it's hard to see where the improvement will come.  Both teams have "good enough to get you beat" QBs under center who also seem to have the undying loyalty of their respective coaches.  (This is likely due to the way that each coach engineered the dumping of former first round QBs in favor of their current starters.)

This is a call for the respective owners of these franchises to wake up about the real condition of their teams.  Life support is needed!


Old Man:  St Louis Rams

From the famous Faulkner short story comes a team that lives on the river from which the book is named.  The team also has a few too many aged players on its roster.

It's time to clean house on this franchise so that it can rejuvenate itself.  Although memories of the pass happy Super Bowl Rams still linger in the Gateway City's heart and minds, its former stars are elsewhere.

There's a need for some new blood.


related tags

New Orleans,
North Carolina,
Mercenary Territory,
Southern Pro Football,

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