We're not sure what the Indianapolis Colts did to make the NFL schedule-makers so mad, but it must have been something horrible. Maybe the league doesn't appreciate "liquored-up kickers," as Colts quarterback Peyton Manning once famously described Canadian teammate Mike Vanderjagt.
Whatever the reason, the Colts will make the trek to Tennessee to take on the mighty Titans tomorrow (1 p.m., Global/CBS), a week after opening the season in Foxboro against the defending Super Bowl-champion New England Patriots.
Arguably, the Colts, Patriots and Titans -- who won at Miami last week -- could be the best three teams in the AFC, with all due respect to the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.
Technically, there's no shame in losing consecutively at New England and Tennessee. Those are tough places to play, obviously. But emotionally, an 0-2 start is an 0-2 start.
The Colts-Titans matchup is an early intra-divisional showdown that will pit the league's two co-MVPs from last season -- Manning and fellow QB Steve McNair of the Titans -- against each other for the first time in their careers. Colts tight end Marcus Pollard had an interesting theory as to how Manning and McNair could settle the debate about who's better.
"Let them play (one-on-one) so we can see who can tackle better, who can pass better, who can run better," Pollard told the Associated Press. "Let them go at it."
Manning and McNair became casual friends at the Pro Bowl, and both say winning this game is their only focus, rather than creating a personal grudge match where no grudge exists. Manning said he knows that's boring.
"But you do realize that you're going against a good offence with a great quarterback," Manning said. "You're going to have to do your job well to stay in the game."
What a revelation! Manning is no Muhammad Ali, folks.
Thankfully, the game promises to be far more entertaining than Manning's standup act.
There are 15 other NFL teams besides the Colts that are trying to avoid 0-2 starts. But on only one of those teams have the players had Bill Parcells glaring at them all week.
Try to imagine the Medusa as a man.
The Cowboys, who are an NFL-best 32-12-1 in home openers, play host to the Cleveland Browns tomorrow. The Cowboys were thumped at Minnesota last week, while the Browns won a home game against sluggish Baltimore.
"It's too early in the season to say (it's a must-win game), but it's pretty dang close," Dallas tight end Dan Campbell said. "I don't want to go to Washington (in Week 3) on a Monday night 0-2. Just being 0-2, period, is bad. It sure would be nice to win this."
Nice is not a word that has been used to describe coach Parcells lately.
"It was a tough week," Parcells said. "It's not much fun, and you do wonder. Right now, we have some problems here. It hasn't been comforting."
So Parcells isn't the comforting type? Shocking.
With no NHL games on the horizon, apparently Don Cherry has joined the cast of ABC's Monday Night Football.
How else to explain the fact the show will be broadcast on a five-second delay for the rest of the season?
Oh yes ... there was that controversy during halftime at the Super Bowl last February, when Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Janet Jackson's top. The wardrobe "malfunction" exposed Jackson's right breast to a CBS audience of 90 million people.
Please, dear God, tell me ABC isn't really worried about Al Michaels ripping off John Madden's shirt.