For instance, let's take the nomenclature of the game. The rest of the world calls soccer “football,” which makes perfect sense because it's actually played with the feet.
So, naturally, we play football with the hands. That is, unless you are an offensive lineman who, outside of some fluke play, must never be seen actually playing the game with their hands.
In America, when you use your feet to make plays in football, it's done by the “special team,” and there are different rules for them than there are for plays made by the rest of the team.
American football developed from rugby, which probably only translates as “football” in some weirdly mystical Celtic way, but I really don't think Druids played football.
I also don't know why it is exactly that you measure the distance of a field goal attempt from the spot of the kick, whereas you measure the distance of a punt from the line of scrimmage.
And why is it that in the basic I-formation, the fullback is in front of the halfback?
Believe it or not, I once had a conversation on just these sorts of questions during a UK game. The sad part was we had a lot more fun at this sort of silliness for three hours than we did watching the game.
There may be some logical, or at the very least sensible, answers out there, but as an insightful baseball player once said, “Ninety percent of the game is half mental.”
It's all for fun, and outside the aforementioned Kentucky brand of football, I enjoy pondering the mysteries. Last week's NFL results were certainly full of surprises.
For those keeping score, I now stand at 48-23 (67.6 percent) after finishing Week 6 at 7-6 thanks to such amazing endings as a successful 54-yard field goal in St. Louis, Mo., and an unsuccessful 40-yard attempt in Glendale, Ariz.
Perhaps that's why we call it football after all. Come to think of it, I can't imagine a better name. Still, finishing such a week above .500 (barely) means I can still hold my head up. (Of course, having a double chin helps.)
Now for the picks of Week 7.
-- Steelers vs. Falcons: This is the “old Mo” game. Pittsburgh has momentum, while Atlanta has lost it. Outside of the one big 90-yard run Warrick Dunn had just after the half last week, they were dominated by the Giants' defense, and the Steelers are even better on that side of the line. It should be a much closer game, though, because I don't believe in the Pittsburgh offense yet.
Just remember, once the season was over, nobody much cared that Pittsburgh had struggled early last year, too. I think they're starting to get their mojo back.
-- Patriots vs. Bills: Buffalo is a team free-falling toward the bottom. Fortunately for them, Oakland already jumped. Take New England in this game, and it doesn't matter where they play. If the Bills have anything in them at all, it must show up this week. I just don't see it happening.
-- Panthers vs. Bengals: Very tempting to join the crowd and take surging Carolina this week after Cincy has put forth two very poor showings wrapped around a bye week.
OK, I'm in.
The Bengals' defense is full of holes, and their offense has been downright offensive. I hope Marvin Lewis gets his hands on a machete, because right now, his team is lost in the jungle.
-- Jaguars vs. Texans: A long time ago in a galaxy very near and dear to us, there was a silly Saturday morning cartoon show about the Harlem Globetrotters. Every week, our heroes would be challenged to a game, fall way behind by the half, then come out inspired to win going away while simultaneously blowing up the scoreboard by stuffing it with points.
Well, outside of some terrorist infiltration scheme, the Houston scoreboard is safe, but then, Jacksonville is not going to be down at the half, either.
-- Chargers vs. Chiefs: Divisional rivals should always be tough games to pick.
Kansas City got rolled last week. Badly. Their defense was showing up well before then, and their offense has been surprisingly effective with perennial backup QB Damon Huard.
San Diego is one of the power teams of the league, except when they are playing not to lose. I think they've learned that lesson. Arrowhead is as tough as they come when the Chiefs show spirit. The Chargers will find a way to get it done.
-- Packers vs. Dolphins: Green Bay just never plays well enough to win when they are way down south. Right now, Miami just never plays well enough to win anywhere.
This would then be the perfect time and team for them to turn that around on. The matchups are right, I just don't trust the ‘Fins to come through this year.
-- Lions vs. Jets: Yay! Detroit won a game! Now I can pick them to win!
-- Eagles vs. Buccaneers: Philly has a great passing game and decent running game. Lack of offense is not why they have lost two games, whereas lack of offense is why Tampa is where it's at.
Both Eagles losses resulted when their defense allowed long drives late in the game. Conservative play-calling is not just a problem for the offense. I think Philly has learned its lesson, too.
-- Broncos vs. Browns: Sorry, Cleveland. Upsets like this only happen on rare occasions, and then never for the Browns, only against them. The truly sad fact is it's been a generation since a win over the Browns was anybody's idea of an upset.
-- Redskins vs. Colts: Indianapolis has a loss coming, but not this week.
-- Cardinals vs. Raiders: Face the fact that Oakland fans wear black this year as a symbol of their mourning.
A lot of pundits are picking the Raiders to win this game based upon the belief that Arizona cannot recover from their ridiculous defeat at home Monday night. I say the Cardinals players are raring to get back out there and prove they are not as bad as their coaches.
-- Vikings vs. Seahawks: Minnesota started off surprisingly well but has had a couple of tough losses since. Seattle is good and have overcome recent tradition by maintaining their quality performance in the league after failing in the Super Bowl. But without Shaun Alexander in the backfield they cannot put anyone away. How much skin can be left on their teeth?
This is one of two games this week where I think home field advantage really comes into play, and I take the Seahawks in the second toughest pick of the week.
-- Giants vs. Cowboys: Divisional rivals. Identical records. Neck-and-neck in the standings. Monday night.
Oooh! This is the stuff football dreams are made of.
While my respect for the Cowboys is considerable, so is my dislike. However, personal preference is not enough this week to make me pick against the home team, no matter how much I may desire it.