Soldiering on with these — after the classic actors, now we’re going with actors that really made their names and faces with turns in the 80s, mostly to satiate one comparison above all others, but I think it will pan out.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (John Cusack) – Never quite the actor that gets over the top (read: Oscars), but displays a remarkable consistency in getting to the playoffs and always gives solid performances. Questions abound as to whether Donovan McNabb will survive this season without injury, and if he does, then who does he throw to? Donte Stallworth headed off to New England, and it leaves Donny Mac with a no-name receiving corps yet again. Adding Takeo Spikes to the D via trade was a solid move, and Jim Johnson has always been blitz-happy as a D-coordinator. What needs to happen to make the Iggles the Super Bowl contender they can be, outside of McNabb avoiding injury, is for Andy Reid and Marty Morninhweg to give McNabb the same balance with Brian Westbrook that they gave Jeff Garcia — stop expecting McNabb to do everything.
2. Dallas Cowboys (Val Kilmer) – These aren’t the same early 90s ‘Boys, they’re flashy when they need to be and steady when they have to be, at least on paper. Romo and T.O. may grab all the flash as far as attention goes, but there’s a good running back tandem behind them (Marion Barber is clearly the better of the two now), and while Wade Phillips can be viewed as a better defensive coordinator than a head coach, that side of the ball will improve. Now, to see whether Jason Garrett is actually worth all the talk from the Dallas camp as someone who can develop Romo without ignoring T.O.
3. Washington Redskins (Tom Cruise) – Flashy, spendthrift, but that kind of method doesn’t draw attention away from the fact that Cruise is a kook, and it’s not driving attention away from the fact that Daniel Snyder is a meddler as an owner and that the Skins were a mess last season. The secondary with Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry should be scary, but a verdict on the defense will have to wait. If Clinton Portis can stay healthy, teaming with Ladell Betts should reap some benefits. Jason Campbell should develop into a solid QB, but I don’t think this is a year where the Skins make the playoffs.
4. New York Giants (Charlie Sheen) – Falling apart in all kinds of ways comes natural to both Sheen and this version of Big Blue, and the mess isn’t going to be cleaned up any time soon. Eli Manning is facing a break or bust year, Tiki Barber is gone, Michael Strahan may be retiring, and Tom Coughlin should have been fired last year. I don’t see this ending well right now unless there is some severe turnaround. Then again, it is the NFC.
(Note: I really, really wanted to use Denzel Washington for Philly, not only due to the consistency factor but also for the obvious black actor/quarterback thing, but Denzel has gotten to the promised land with two Oscars, and Philly hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1960. Also, I bet Cusack’s a Bears fan. Oh well.)