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The Life Of Guarantors
Randolph Charlotin. 10th December, 2007 - 7:46 pm

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Smith: I think we got a real good chance to win the game, and we will win the game.

Reporter: A win is guaranteed?

Smith: Yeah, we?re gonna win the game.

And just like that, we have another guarantee. Pittsburgh Steelers' free safety Anthony Smith made the bold statement, and he won?t back down.

It?s one thing to have confidence in yourself and your teammates. No competitor approaches a game thinking they will lose, no matter the odds. It?s another thing to go public. Smith is taking that chance. If he and his Steelers come through, then Anthony can pound his chest with pride as he shouts, ?I told you so!? If he?s wrong, Smith is another knucklehead running his mouth.

Guarantees aren?t the safest routes. There?s a very good chance you?d be the subject of ridicule if your prediction doesn?t come through. There are a few people Smith could ask about not backing up their words.

Detroit Lions' quarterback Jon Kitna in March said his Lions would win 10 games. When asked about it again, he said, ?It?s more than 10 wins.?

Well Kitna can scrap the 10-plus prediction now. Detroit is 6-6 with no margin for error to get to double-digit victories. Running the table from this point on shouldn?t be a problem with the 11-1 Dallas Cowboys coming to town, a visit to the surging 7-5 San Diego Chargers and a trip to the 10-2 Green Bay Packers to close out the season. Easy as pie, right?

It?s a heck of a jump to go from three wins last year to 10 or more, but it can happen in this league. Kitna felt good about the offense with wide receiver Roy Williams and rookie Calvin Johnson to throw to, but he didn?t take into consideration the offensive line that has given up 51 sacks this season with four games to go. Kitna also forgot all the offense in the world can?t make a winning team without a good defense to be the backbone. The D is next to last in total yards, passing yards, and 25th in points allowed per game.

Kitna hasn?t helped his own cause recently either. In the last two home games against the Packers and the New York Giants, Kitna completed 57 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and four interceptions.

As it turns out, Kitna was right. Next time he will keep his estimate to himself.

Cincinnati Bengals' receiver Chad Johnson said during a television interview that he wants to gain 2,000 yards receiving.

At the pace Johnson is going, he could do it, if the season was 20 games.

Johnson is always good for a laugh. He?s the clown prince of the NFL with his orchestrated touchdown celebrations (which the NFL has heartlessly made practically illegal) and trash-talking. It was hilarious when he sent Pepto Bismol to the Cleveland Browns defensive backs. And claiming he was "Gonna hit Baltimore Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis in the mouth? even though they are good friends and chatted over the phone the night before was almost as unforgettable.

When he?s joking, Johnson?s antics are entertaining and enjoyable. But he was being serious with his declaration.

To his credit, Johnson is having another Pro Bowl-caliber season with more than 1,100 yards and six touchdowns. But somewhere along the way, his silliness hasn?t elicited the same chuckles as in years past.

When your team is 4-8, what are you celebrating? When the Bengals were winning, it brought the team together. But in a season that falls well short of team expectations, those same celebrations become grandstanding ?look at me? acts of selfishness.

There?s nothing wrong with setting lofty goals for oneself. But it shouldn?t be at the expense of the team?s success.

St. Louis Rams running back Stephen Jackson says he wants to gain 2,500 combined yards.

To Jackson?s credit, his reasoning was team-oriented. Last season his Rams were 7-9 with their battering ram Jackson combining 1,528 rushing yards with 806 receiving yards for a total of 2,334 yards. Maybe he was thinking an additional 166 yards or more would be the difference between a 7-9 season and a 10-6 year.

Jackson would have to average 156.25 combined yards per game to make his goal. That?s hard to pull off for anyone, let alone someone who?s played just eight games this season.

Injuries are a part of the game, and no one is immune to them. Jackson is a physical player who dishes out hits but also absorbs his share as well. Jackson had been durable the past two years, but he got unlucky this year. When Jackson did play, his production is not close to the average needed to make his goal. It doesn?t matter who you are, you can?t break records from the sideline.

Smith has a right to make a guarantee. But he better back it up. He?s started just seven games this season and posted 50 tackles, two pass defenses, one forced fumble, and one interception. That doesn?t impress anybody.

Anthony Smith could be on the winning team. The Steelers are the top defense in the league. They play physically on both sides of the ball. They run the ball down the opponent?s throat relentlessly. The secondary hits. Furthermore, they have a good pair of speed rushers at outside linebacker. All these elements attack what looks like Patriots? weaknesses. This is a winnable game for the Steelers.

But what will Smith?s contribution be? Riding the coattails of the team means nothing. He needs to have the game of his career to back up his boast.

A one game guarantee.. At least Smith has learned to think small before getting ahead of himself.