YOU hate to believe that money can buy anything. That seems to be the thinking of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who has spent $100 million in salaries and bonuses this year with the sole purpose of winning Super Bowl 2001.
Super Bowl may be
won by home team
Nothing less will do.
So the future is now for coach Norv Turner, who's under the gun to win or else.
Too bad for Turner, but here's hoping the Redskins fall on their collective rear ends this season. Besides, you have to wonder about team chemistry when you add Jeff George and Deion Sanders to an already volatile mix.
That said, with the National Football League kicking off a new century tomorrow, it's time to pick my favorites to make it all the way to Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 28.
Here's hoping that this season will match last year's in surprises.
The theme of the 1999 football season was "From Worst to First." We're not just talking about the University of Hawaii.
The St. Louis Rams, who stunned everyone en route to winning Super Bowl XXXIV, and the Indianapolis Colts both captured division titles after finishing last the previous year.
For the Colts, it was the biggest one-year turnaround in league history.
Both the Rams and Colts figure to repeat as division winners. But don't look for the two worst NFL teams last year -- Cleveland (2-14) and New Orleans (3-13) to be making any worst-to-first claims this season. They'll still be in the worst category.
Look for the Denver Broncos (6-10) to make the worst-to-first leap in the AFC West because of the return of running back Terrell Davis.
The Philadelphia Eagles will make the biggest turnaround of all NFC teams, going from 5-11 to 9-7 in the Eastern Division, to finish one game back of the Redskins.
But it'll all depend on second-year Donovan McNabb, who still has to prove he's a legit NFL quarterback and not the second coming of Kordell Stewart, who has yet to prove he is one with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Still, it looks favorable for McNabb and the Eagles, who have been assigned the easiest 2000 schedule, based upon opponents' won-lost records from last season.
STRENGTH of schedule will be a key factor in the NFL's grueling 16-game schedule.
For that reason, it looks like an easy repeat for the Rams in the NFC West as none of their division opponents had a winning record last year.
Tampa Bay will beat out Minnesota in the Central Division and will join the Rams and East winner Washington in the NFC playoffs along with the wild-card Eagles, Vikings and Carolina Panthers.
In the AFC playoffs, the division champion Colts, Broncos and Tennessee Titans will be joined by wild-card teams Oakland, which has the third-easiest schedule overall in the NFL, Jacksonville and New England.
The Titans will advance to the AFC Championship game without the benefit of any trick plays, and corral the Colts, putting Peyton Manning in his place.
With its NFL-best defense aided by the newly acquired offensive weapon in wideout Keyshawn Johnson, the Buccaneers will end the Kurt Warner Story as the Buccaneers beat the Rams in the NFC Championship game.
And in Super Bowl XXXV?
Who else, but the Buccaneers? And in Tampa, of all places.
For the Tampa Bay faithful, the Buccaneers winning the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance since joining the NFL in 1976 will make the wait worthwhile.
Bill Kwon has been writing about
sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.