Coaches make headlines for all wrong reasons

John Turner
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Three coaches made headlines last Sunday in the NFL for all the wrong reasons.

The first one was New Orleans field boss Sean Payton, who collided with his own player, Jimmy Graham, during a play on the Saints’ sideline. Payton ended up with torn knee ligaments and a broken leg. Who said head coaches aren’t physically tough?

Instead of leaving the field, Payton showed some grit, letting the training staff put a brace on his leg while coaching (he also calls offensive plays) the rest of the first half from a sideline bench.

It looked quite bizarre seeing a head coach sitting on a bench with his leg elevated calling offensive plays, and not really able to see what was happening.

Payton decided he didn’t like the comfort of the steel bench, and moved to the more comfortable and luxurious press box to call the second half. It must have been different not being able to communicate with your players face to face for an entire half, and your team loses.

Two other coaches got into the headlines over a bad handshake. You have to be joking, right?

The traditional post-game handshake in sports, where one coach is happy and the other one puts on a very brave face, went very wrong in Detroit.

Lions coach Jimmy Schwartz lost it. He apparently has very delicate hands and a bad back. He became very upset when an excited 49ers coach, Jim Harbaugh, squeezed his hand too hard and used extra force with his tap on Schwartz’s back.

Yes, perhaps the "slap on the back" was harder than usual, but you are a football coach, Schwartz. This is a physical game.

The Freak thinks Coach Schwartz was still mad at losing a close game – his first in his last nine regular-season games. He hasn’t been on the losing end of these handshakes lately.

Television moment

Finally, the handshake at midfield has become more of a television moment, and really doesn’t need to be highlighted at the end of every game.

But, with so many bitter rivalries in the NFL, fans want to see if opposing coaches really like or dislike each other. For example: Belichick-Mangini, Belichick-Ryan, Coughlin-Reid, etc.

We, as fans, hate our bitter rivals, so we believe the coaches should be like this as well.

Put it this way: they aren’t asking each other how the wife and kids are, but are doing it to respect the game. Thus, please act appropriately.

Coach Parcells quote of the week

"You may only need one thing to motivate a player. Find that one thing that he responds to, and that’s all you need."

Pet peeve of the week

The Freak understands that Troy Aikman will always be a Cowboy and Phil Simms, who rarely works an NFC game, will always be a Giant. But, when they are doing commentary on a game involving their old teams, try and take an unbiased point of view.

Aikman is a big homer when he works a Cowboys’ game, but the worst had to be Joe Theismann doing a Redskins’ game.

Stat of the week

The statistics show any team travelling from the West Coast to the East Coast to play a 1 p.m., EST, game is at a distinct disadvantage. However, the 49ers are bucking that trend, having won three straight games this year on the East Coast.

The 49ers have beat Cincy, Philly and Detroit. That’s very difficult to do regardless who you’re playing.

The sure thing

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is banged up, and has definitely been hit with the sophomore jinx. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is struggling because of all the media pressure. This game is in Big D, the Rams are playing bad as a team and Romo should look good, ending the criticism for at least this week. Cowboys win.

"We, as fans, hate our bitter rivals, so we believe the coaches should be like this as well. Put it this way: they aren’t asking each other how the wife and kids are, but are doing it to respect the game. Thus, please act appropriately." John Turner

The Vikings look like they are already playing for next season. Quarterback Donovan McNabb has been benched for rookie Christian Ponder. Don’t think this is how Ponder dreamed it up. You probably don’t want your first NFL start to be against the champs, especially since linebacker Clay Matthews has been struggling and will take out his anger out on you. Ponder melts like a grilled cheese sandwich. Packers roll to 7-0 (won-lost).

The Freak wonders how Coach Payton will stand on the sidelines against the Colts? Will he sit on the bench, use crutches, press box, etc.? Regardless, his Saints will end this home game quickly, giving his leg some much-needed rest.

Don’t mortgage the house picks

Kyle Boller was such a terrible quarterback in Baltimore, St. Louis and now Oakland that, with Jason Campbell out for the rest of the season, management traded for Carson Palmer. The Raiders will most likely start him this week as Palmer learns the offence. With the Chiefs coming off a bye week and facing their divisional rivals, look for Kansas City to beat the Raiders in the "Black Hole" while chants of "Carson, Carson..." echo through the stadium.

With the Pats, Giants and Eagles, many local fans can relax for once. Well, Detroit fans have been relaxing for the past 13 years. They now have lots of voice to cheer their Lions, who host the Falcons in the week’s best matchup. Detroit lost a heart-breaker to the 49ers, but usually good teams rebound. The Falcons, on the other hand, are very inconsistent, and look nothing like last year’s solid team. Detroit gets back to its winning ways against Atlanta in the Motor City.

Kevin Kolb was supposed to be the answer for the Cardinals at quarterback. Well, he hasn’t been, Arizona is 1-4 and last in the NFC West. The Steelers visit on a two-game winning streak, and their offence is starting to show life. The Cards’ offence has been lifeless, even with all-world wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Arizona will make a game of it, but can’t find a way to get Fitzy the ball. Steelers win.

Upset special

Here we go again – the quarterback carousel in Washington!

You all knew once Rex Grossman had a "Rex Grossman” type of game (four interceptions) that he would be out, and the well-known John Beck would be in.

The Skins take this quarterback circus to Carolina, where rookie quarterback Cam Newton has run this Panther high-wire act very well. Carolina has been in every game this year because of Newton. He won’t be clowning around on Sunday, and leads Carolina to an upset over the Washington road show.

Last week: 5-for-7 (71.4 per cent).

Season: 32-for-43 (74.4 per cent).

John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to the

Organizations: Raiders, Steelers, Cardinals

Geographic location: Detroit, New Orleans, East Coast West Coast Big D Arizona Washington Baltimore St. Louis Kansas City Atlanta Summerside

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