NFL news of November 8, 2002

Welcome to another week in sports’ most successful enterprise, the National Football League, which doesn’t have a franchise in the No. 2 TV market, Los Angeles, but fines players $5,000 for wearing their socks wrong. (Paul Tagliabue changed his mind about Mike Vick’s hosiery felony only after realizing he does commercials.)

The NFL used to be pretty easy to figure out, but that was about 27 Tommy Maddox transactions ago. That the Falcons have won four straight is weird enough, but relative normalcy compared to Sunday’s opponent.

Pittsburgh also has won four straight — behind quarterback Tommy the Bronco/Ram/Giant/Falcon/Red Dog/Plumber/Xtreme/Lube ‘N Tune/You Want Fries With That?/Steeler Maddox. Seven teams, three leagues.

Maddox’s backup is Kordell Stewart, who has gone from one of the league’s top weapons to pretending to be Vick on the scout team.

An actual Stewart quote: “This week is a perfect opportunity for us to have a chance to use my skills and try to act like someone else.” (Translations will be available in the lobby.)

If Vick thought Baltimore’s defense was a problem, wait until he sees this one. He’ll be dodging blitzes all day. And unless the Falcons’ receiving corps suddenly morphs into something of a threat, he can forget finding a target.

— Jeff Schultz, Atlanta Journal-Constitution “Fine Socks Aside, Steelers Will Win”

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