Down in the Deep South, there’s a saying that goes like this: it’s not the species, but the recipe.
That’s a nice way of putting it — while an entree may not be prime rib, if fixed right, it tastes good.
So some are suggesting I find a way to rustle up my crow in such a manner. Throw some spice in there; bathe that bird in hot sauce. Find some ketchup and empty the bottle on those vittles.
This after being reminded by readers of my prediction that the Chargers’ season would mimic holiday lights: put away right after Christmas.
But the Chargers are sparkling and heading to Cincinnati. The Queen City awaits, and I’ll do the royal thing and accept their appreciation.
A playoff share would be swell, but I don’t expect too much. The Spanos family likes to spend money, but not waste it.
Still, the thought here is, guys like me poking the Chargers in the ribs supplied the motivation to shock the world. Yep, they got plenty of other help as the Dolphins and Ravens went 0-4 over the final two weekends while the Chargers soared to 2-0.
They also got a boost with Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop going wide right and the officials getting the play wildly wrong. The Chargers were lined-up illegally on Succop’s epic miss to force overtime, but the zebras missed it as well.
So the Chargers survive and yes, I’m available on the motivational circuit for whatever ails your company.
Sports or otherwise.
A wise acre might predict the Chargers, the AFC’s No. 6 seed, are in for a grand fall on Sunday against the AFC North champion Bengals. That there’s a reason why the locals are 40-to-1 in some Las Vegas books to win Super Bowl XLVIII.
And just maybe the smart guys setting the odds will get it right, but are they the same ones giving the Chargers a 1 percent chance of making the playoffs with two weeks remaining?
Nothing is surprising anymore, or did you really think the Chargers would win four straight after a falling flat against these same Bengals on Dec. 1?
The Chargers were mauled by the guys in stripes, getting pushed around like a shopping cart in a parking lot. The Bengals rushed for 164 yards, the second-most the Chargers allowed all season; I can’t explain how the Redskins rumbled for 209 either.
The Bengals pancaked the Chargers before a flat gathering that had to be encouraged by manufactured crowd noise being pumped through Qualcomm Stadium’s speakers. The biggest sound heard was the Chargers falling from relevancy, a resounding thud with them plopping two games under .500 with a testy December slate awaiting.
But the Chargers rebounded, disposing of the Giants, Broncos, Raiders and Chiefs. That punched their playoff ticket and has it really been three years since we’ve been on this route?
We’ll remind others that we were coy and saw it coming all along, and if the Chargers needed us doubting their resolve to pull it off, so be it.
The Chargers are alive and the cheers are still ringing in our ears from Succop going all Pete Stoyanovich late Sunday afternoon, and if you don’t know the story, here goes:
The Dolphins, in a 2004 AFC Divisional Game, were poised to eliminate the Chargers in the contest’s final seconds. The steady Stoyanovich was set to kick a 48-yard field goal for a 24-22 win. He lined it up, and just like Succop, was wide right.
The Chargers removed their blindfold and put away their cigarette. It was off to Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship Game where they were greeted by full-page newspapers ads hawking Super Bowl XXIX trips to Miami. The powerful Steelers were double-digit favorites, set to brush aside the Chargers like dandruff on shoulder pads.
But a funny thing happened on the Steelers’ way to South Beach.
Stan Humphries found Tony Martin, Dennis Gibson’s arm found a last-gasp Neil O’Donnell pass and the sight of a beaming coach Bobby Ross in the bedlam of that old Three Rivers Stadium visitor’s locker room is a lasting memory.
So bet against the Chargers if you want with the Bengals being undefeated at home this season.
Bet against an uneven Chargers team that was nearly beat by the Chiefs’ junior varsity squad.
Bet, bet, bet, but just remember, figuring out the NFL is a wager no one should embrace.
Me, I got a meal to eat. I’m betting it’ll taste good with ketchup.
Jay Paris can be heard talking Chargers football on 1090 AM on Monday and Friday mornings. He’s also the Wednesday morning co-host of “Hacksaw and Company.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @jparis_sports.
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports