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Inside the NFL

'Hawks get it together as weasel flees the scene

December 14, 2007|Sam Farmer | ON THE NFL

Seattle has bounced back after a sloppy start. Atlanta's coach couldn't even hack it for a season. And there's good news and bad news for the Cleveland Browns.

Some thoughts heading into the final three weeks of the NFL's regular season:

New England and Dallas are a combined 25-1. Take them out of the mix, and the NFL's next-longest winning streak belongs to the Seattle Seahawks, who have won five in a row.

Seattle looks nothing like the team that lost four of its first six, including a 21-0 stomping at Pittsburgh. The Seahawks have got a better defense than they did in 2005, when they lost to the Steelers in the Super Bowl, and Matt Hasselbeck is playing out of his mind.

And get this: Seattle receivers don't drop every other pass anymore. . . .

Bobby Petrino proved himself a Grade-A weasel with the way he left the Falcons in the lurch to take the Arkansas job.

Instead of addressing his players when he quit after 13 games, he had copies of a 78-word resignation letter left at their lockers. They didn't think much of him in the first place. Maybe former Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson put it best when he said the coach "just shows his true color, like a coward with a yellow stripe down his back."

Any plans for the Razorbacks to change their uniforms?

The Falcons told Petrino's brother, Paul, he was welcome to stay on as receivers coach and finish the season. Hard to blame him for turning down that offer. . . .

It's the end of a long and storied era in Green Bay, where 83-year-old Lee Remmel announced this week he's retiring from the Packers, with whom he's been associated since 1945. Remmel started out as a sportswriter covering the franchise, before becoming its public relations director and finally team historian.

The thing about Remmel is he has a deep, resonant, John Facenda-type voice, one you could imagine rumbling down from the heavens. For years, he's made announcements over the public address system at various Super Bowl media centers.

A memorable one from a guy we call the Packers' voice of God: "Attention, press: In conference room B is . . . the rap group Salt-N-Pepa."

A fed-up Ravens fan is camping out on the roof of a Baltimore bar in protest, hoping the team will fire Coach Brian Billick. He plans to stay up there at least until the Ravens end their losing streak. They have lost a franchise-record seven in a row but play at winless Miami on Sunday.

If he decides to stay until Billick is fired, he might want to pack more than one lunch. According to the Baltimore Sun, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti says Billick is coming back.

Oh, and for all the potential roof-sitting Ravens fans out there, the weekend forecast for Baltimore calls for temperatures in the low 30s with rain, snow showers and wind. . . .

There might not be a bigger Cleveland Browns fan in Los Angeles than Linda Winfield, my son's third-grade teacher. She's got a team flag hanging outside her classroom, sends home that week's results for parents who might not have noticed, and bakes orange and brown treats for the staff after every victory.

This season, she's a regular Mrs. Fields.

Good news and bad news, Linda: The Browns are scoring like crazy -- their highest average since 1968 -- but they're also giving up too many points. . . .

With the release Wednesday of baseball's Mitchell Report, it makes you wonder if and when there will be a corresponding pro football bombshell.

The NFL came off so much better than Major League Baseball in those 2005 congressional hearings on steroids, and, in fairness, football has taken a more aggressive stance on policing its players. But how much of it can we really believe?

Twenty years ago, there were a handful of 300-pound players in the league. Now, every team is loaded with them. Human evolution just doesn't happen that quickly. Considering the league doesn't test for human growth hormone, and, in the world of performance-enhancing drugs, the chasers are sometimes years behind those being chased, can we truly trust that everybody who hasn't been caught is clean?

The baseball scandal has caused an uproar that could reverberate for years to come. Sadly, it may be that we apply a different standard to football gladiators: The bigger, the better. . . .

I'm heading to the Jets-Patriots game in Foxborough just as a Nor'easter is hitting. I'm hoping to make it home by Christmas.

Can't help but think of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."

--

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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