Thanksgiving and turkeys go together like Madonna and A-Rod, so the time is right to honor the few, the proud, the fowl -- this year's NFL turkeys that deserve to be recognized for spectacular underachievements.
I kept the list at 10, which means I couldn't include the entire Detroit Lions roster. But that doesn't mean the Lions can't take a curtain call. The NFL has them scheduled for another Thanksgiving slaughter, this time at the hands of Tennessee.
That leaves us 10 more turkeys to celebrate, and why wait for the Macy's Parade? You have your favorites. I have mine. So let's get started with the roll call.
1. AFC West -- The more I see of this division the more I believe someone wins it with a record of 8-8 ... or less. Hey, the San Diego Union-Tribune had a story suggesting that not only wasn't 6-10 out of the picture, neither were the Oakland Raiders. The combined record of the division's four members is 14-30, and only Denver has a victory outside the conference. In fact, it has three. This isn't the AFC West, it's the AFC Mess, and it's time someone, anyone plays to win. Of course, it was time a couple of months ago, too.
2. Ed Hochuli, referee -- He became the poster boy for "When Good Officials Go Bad" when he blew a call against San Diego that cost the Chargers a victory in Denver. Hochuli apologized to coach Norv Turner, but that didn't go over so well. Norv wasn't happy, and neither was the NFL. In an extraordinary move, the league announced it would "mark (Hochuli) down for this call." Great. It still doesn't help the Chargers go up in the standings. Nevertheless, all was not lost. Apparently, it got the Chargers to thinking: Without Hochuli to officiate future games, they might have to blow them all by themselves. And they have, dropping four -- each in the final 24 seconds.
3. Adam Jones, cornerback, Dallas -- It's hard to talk seriously about a guy who gets into a fight with security guards hired to protect him from himself. But that tells you what kind of circus act the Cowboys have on their hands. Owner Jerry Jones blamed himself for Pacman's suspension, saying it might not have happened if he hadn't hired security to stay with Pacman, but he was too hard on himself. He should have just taken the blame for hiring this reprobate, period. It's not as if the guy was going to change just because he was in a new zip code or went by another name. Jones thought by calling himself Adam instead of Pacman he somehow became a different guy. Puh-leeze. He is what he's always been, which is a menace to himself and a distraction in the locker room, and shame on Jerry Jones for thinking that he or the Dallas Cowboys could make that all go away.
4. Braylon Edwards, wide receiver, Cleveland -- A year ago, he was a Pro Bowl receiver. Now he couldn't hold a plane ticket to Honolulu or catch a cold. I've never seen a guy who makes bigger drops -- unless, of course, Billy Bucks joins the conversation. It doesn’t matter where the passes are. Short. Deep. In between. It doesn't matter who throws them, either, Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn. Edwards can't hold them, one reason he's up for the lead roles in remakes of Edward Scissorhands and Grease.
5. Scott Green, referee -- When is a forward lateral not a forward lateral? Better yet, when is a touchdown not a touchdown? Don't ask Scott. He blew the call at the end of the San Diego-Pittsburgh game, and while it didn't affect the score it got you thinking: How in the world could he and his crew botch a layup? Look for Scott to join Ed Hochuli at this year's Super Bowl -- in the stands.
6. Richie Incognito, offensive lineman, St. Louis -- He calls himself "Sheriff," but lately he's been acting more like Deputy Dawg. Maybe it has to do with trying to get attention with the last name of Incognito, I don't know. What I do know is that is no reason to go stupid on us, especially when you play for one of the league's bottom feeders. Incognito last week complained that Rams' fans don't know "how to cheer" or "when to cheer," but that's what happens, Richie, when you support a facsimile of an NFL franchise that's been outscored 123-13 the past four games -- in the first half. Cheer that, big guy. Of course, Richie is the same guy who later flipped off a cameraman and egged on jeering fans after the Rams' latest meltdown. Now that's what I call getting people behind you -- way behind.
7. Donovan McNabb, quarterback, Philadelphia -- This has nothing to do with his play the past two weeks which, quite frankly, has gone farther south than Tierra Del Fuego. Nope, this has to do with McNabb not knowing the rules for overtime. I find that hard to believe, too, except McNabb himself swears it's true, and I believe him. I also believe if you're the team leader or the point man for a franchise or a respected veteran -- all of which McNabb is -- you better know the rules of the game. What I can't believe is how you can be in the NFL 10 years and not know that contests can end in ties during the regular season. I mean, officials announce it before the overtime coin flip, for crying out loud. I don't blame McNabb for tuning out the criticism in Philadelphia; but how about flipping on the switch when you're told to pay attention.
8. Al Davis, owner, Oakland Raiders -- He hired Lane Kiffin as his head coach in 2007. Then he couldn't get rid of him a year later. So he let him swing in the breeze while the Raiders came this close to beating Buffalo and San Diego. Then he stepped in to fire away ... and to notify Kiffin he wouldn't pay what was left on his contract. Hmmm, I think I've heard of this before, and tell me if I'm warm, Mike Shanahan. Davis is the guy who shelled out millions for Javon Walker. Dumb move. He's also the guy who shelled out millions for DeAngelo Hall. Dumber move. Since going to Super Bowl XXXVII the Raiders are 22-69, with four last-place finishes, and I think we all know why. Ah, yes, welcome to the Hotel California. You can check out anytime, but you can never leave.
9. Chad Johnson/Ocho Cinco, wide receiver, Cincinnati -- When he changed his surname it was supposed to be a big deal only it wasn't. And it wasn't because there was no reason to mention him. Maybe Ocho Stinko is more like it, with Johnson producing no more than 57 yards in any game and getting himself suspended by the club for insubordination. Do the Bengals a favor, Chad, and take the year off. Oops, I forgot: He already has.
10. Javon Walker, wide receiver, Oakland; DeAngelo Hall, cornerback, Oakland/Washington -- Hey, times are tough, so I'll make this a Thanksgiving Day two-for-one deal. The Raiders signed Walker to a six-year, $55 million deal and Hall to a $72 million contract. They're still waiting on the returns, and good luck. It would be an understatement to call these bad investments, and it's a wonder Al Davis hasn't called in the Treasury Dept. for a bailout. Hall stunk so badly the Raiders cut him in midseason. Walker hasn't done anything but spin a bizarre story about getting beaten up and robbed in Las Vegas. Now we're talking about the Raiders getting beaten up and robbed by a couple of sorry additions, and, no, I don't feel for them. They were warned, yet paid as much attention to danger signs as Donovan McNabb did to the OT clock. In an era where money should be tight, the Raiders are the AIG of pro football. Just lose, baby.