Often referred to as “The Amazing Kreskin of the Sports World”, Willie Gee’s picks of sporting events are borderline legendary. And if he’s right again this year, God Bless Us Eagle fans.
Perhaps the greatest gift given to WillieG the sports analyst is his special ability to predict the future in certain instances without the help of ESP (or ESPN for that matter). Although I am by no means always right, I have been right on many occasions over time when others shunned my predictions and believed that they had virtually no chance whatsoever of coming true. My greatest prediction probably came around 2002, when Brett Favre first began to talk retirement. I boldly predicted that Favre would essentially become a “retirement redneck” in that he would not leave the game anytime soon but would continue to talk about it every chance he got for years just as many everyday rednecks do. Rednecks are always like, “Maaan, I think I’m about ready to hang it up”, and then they work until they’re like 70 some. I just had the feeling Favre would go that route, and well, look at him now. Favre is slated to be Green Bay’s starting quarterback for the 2007-08 season. That pick really came to fruition, did it not?
Time for some fresh predictions to prove my mettle. In the NFL, I guarantee that this will be the year of Terrell Owens and the Dallas Cowboys. You T.O. and Cowboy haters better brace yourselves. T.O. seems happy to be a Cowboy for a change, not at all depressed, healthy, focused, and reenergized. He has rededicated himself to fitness training this off season and his injuries from last year are now healed. He now has a coach who he seems to enjoy playing for and who is trying to maximize his talents and make him more the focal point of the offense. Wade Phillips has spoken about using Owens more in the slot, a place where he is virtually impossible to cover, and about using him more as the go-to guy. This is a large contrast from last season, when Bill Parcells was very spiteful and immature in the way that he dealt with Owens, a strategy which ultimately hurt the team in many ways both tangible and intangible. For one thing, the offense was not designed to make the most of the players’ talents who were executing it, and this does not just apply to T.O. Even though the Cowboys offense was filled with playmakers, the coach formerly referred to as the “riverboat gambler” could not seem to loosen the strings on his ultra-conservative strategy. Then, speaking of strings, it seems like half the players in the starting line-up should have been on the second string. Drew Bledsoe started the season as the team’s quarterback even though Tony Romo gave them the best chance to win. It was obvious to everyone except Parcells that Bledsoe was washed up, but then again we all know he had a real problem letting go of players who were “Parcells guys” even though maybe some of these young guys could become “Parcells guys” if he would have ever given them half a chance. For instance, Marion Barber seemed to have the makings of an old school Parcells running back, but he could not win the starting job despite the fact that he outperformed Julius Jones nearly every week. For the record, I told anyone who would listen to me that Barber should be the starter around the early middle part of last season. I think that Barber will receive more playing time this year as Phillips will work him into the offense more and he will have a breakout season. The Cowboys also did not throw to the tight end enough last year, even though Jason Witten is one of the best in the business.
Overall, I believe that Phillips will try to get the most out of his personnel unlike Parcells, and he will improve the defense as that is his area of expertise. When all this takes place, the Cowboys will easily make it to the Super Bowl where Owens will shine and lead them to victory, just like he would have done for the Eagles in that Super Bowl against the Patriots if Donovan McNabb had not “gotten tired” (aka choked) in the second half. That is right, Philly fans, the way I see it you all will be eating your hearts out come February. You will then see the huge mistake the Eagles made in siding with McNabb and Andy Reid as opposed to Owens, who had the support of many of his teammates. Sadly, the Eagles are too corporate and their fans never truly appreciated Terrell Owens, even though he risked his career for them in attempting to win a Super Bowl.
I believe that the NFL rookie of the year will either be Calvin Johnson or Adrian Peterson. Johnson will have the greatest career of anyone from this year’s draft class, but it is possible that Peterson could have the most immediate impact. I predict that Stephen Jackson of the Rams will be the most dominant running back this next season. Although it will be close between him, LaDanian Thomlinson, and Larry Johnson. I believe it is Jackson whose star is still rising the most. I could possibly see LT starting to lose a step in the next couple of years, but I do think the Chargers could get to the Super Bowl this season if Norv Turner does not screw things up, which is a big if. As far as surprise teams go, I think Arizona will be much improved from last year. However, they could have done a lot better this past season, especially since they are in the NFC, if they had not let the Bears off the hook in that Monday night game. The truth is that the Bears really were who the Cardinals thought they were, but they went all the way to the Super Bowl because the NFC was unbelievably weak.
I also feel that the Rams could have a very good season if their coach does a decent job, which I am not sure he is capable of. They have the personnel. The Lions could also potentially surprise some people. My long shot prediction would have to be the Houston Texans. I think they really will be better this year, although I doubt they will contend too much for a playoff spot in the AFC. Although I do think David Carr is a better quarterback than Matt Schuab, Carr’s head and heart were no longer in it last year and the rest of the team seems to be improving. I predict that the Eagles will have a disappointing season. As for Brett Favre, I hope the Packers are good this year although I am not sure that will be the case since their front office has gone back to operating the way in which it did throughout the 80’s. It is too bad they did not get Randy Moss. The front office really dropped the ball on that one being that all they would have needed to give up was a 4th round draft pick. But hey, let’s face it, they did not want to spend the money anyway. Why don’t they surround Favre with the talent they did when he was young? Then we would see what he could really do. However, I do believe that this will be Favre’s last season. I know he keeps dragging out this retirement thing, but I have a feeling this is it. That being said, I love Favre and would like to see him play as long as possible.
In baseball, I just have a feeling that this will finally be the year that the Cleveland Indians win the World Series, although I am a little TO‘ed (no pun intended) at their recent play. It is about time for this to happen, for them and for me. The Indians are my favorite team, and the last time my favorite team won it all in anything was probably when Tommie Frazier led the Nebraska Cornhuskers to the 1996 college football national championship (I hate Nebraska now because they abandoned the option). The Indians have a great young team, and the addition of Kenny Lofton should put them over the top. His experience will help, he is now clutch, and he knows what a championship would mean to the city of Cleveland. It is like an old friend coming home, and it is just what the Tribe needs to make sure it has the heart and character it takes to be champions. I will admit this one is partially wishful thinking, but I feel it is their time. I do not know who they will beat in the World Series, but I guarantee it will not be the Philadelphia Phillies, as I am certain that they will fade. After all, this is the team whose front office tanked away last season and essentially wrote it off when trading Bobby Abreu to the evil empire for, ah, let’s see, nothing, and then they only missed the wild card by one game if my memory serves me (which it usually does). As long as the team continues to be run by losers, it will remain a loser franchise. So, I boldly predict that the Phillies will either choke down the stretch or find some other way not to get it done. My teams may not have the best of luck, but I am sure that one of the teams that I pull for will win a championship before a Philadelphia team does. No wonder you all have such a negative and nasty attitude. Who will you all boo next, the Easter Bunny? God maybe?
These are my predictions for better or for worse. If they are wrong, do not be afraid to hold me to them. I promise not to be another Jay Mariotti and act like I never said any of this. However, if they turn out to be right, I hope I will be given my props, even by the likes of PalestraJon and the ill-a-delph. One must give credit where credit is due. In other words, y’all better recognize. Believe it or not, I am a firm believer in accountability (that is, unless my favorite athlete is faced with felony dog fighting charges), and I like to see this as an opportunity to prove my sports knowledge to all my doubters who regularly read my articles at www.johnnygoodtimes.com. It is time to turn you all into believers.