Street & Smith’s: right where we want ’em


Back in olden times, before Sunday Ticket, fantasy and Al Gore’s Interwebs became commonplace, we football fans were screwed this time of year. After the Super Bowl we waited and waited. The Draft was a blip on the sports radar, covered in the past tense by these things called “newspapers.” And then, one summer day, you saw it.

The Street & Smith’s Pro Football Yearbook.

It was a tangible sign that autumn was nigh. Training camp was just around the corner. Every fan of every team has hope for a new season, but that hope seemed a little more realistic in June with the old S&S in your hands.

Of course, it turned out that Street & Smith’s was a big fat fraud. Their predictions were always hopelessly wrong, mainly because the damn thing is published so early it doesn’t allow for player movement. It’s conservative, boring and painfully obvious. But once something becomes part of your routine, it’s hard to shake. I’ve bought a copy of the S&S just about every one of the last 20 years, and I fell for it once again yesterday, if only to see what they’re saying about the Broncos.

As I’m sure most prognosticators will, this rag predicts that Denver will finish second in the AFC West, behind San Diego and ahead of KC and Oakland. It’s hard to argue with that logic, unless you feel that the Chargers are due for a Norv-induced freefall or Brodie Huard are is the second coming of Steve Montana.

The deaths of Williams and Nash are prominently played, of course, again due to the early press date. Much is made of the massive roster turnover, and that was well before the recent spree on the D-line. The draft review was fairly positive. They said that Champ Bailey is good, and that Brandon Marshall might be. Jim Bates gets a lot of positive fluff. Thus far, I’ve wasted seven dollars.

Elsewhere, the trademark obviousness is apparent, as if this magazine were written for Japanese tourists with no working knowledge of NFL football. The front cover screams: “Grab These Fantasy Studs In Your Draft!” and then lists LT, Peyton, Chad and Larry Johnson, and Steven Jackson. Really? You think so, Doctor? Your “sleepers” may end up being pretty good.

Like a cheesy summer sequel at the multiplex, the Street & Smith’s is harmless, amusing, worthless and a nice diversion from the heat. It stokes the football fire that burns in my belly.