American Football: George comes in from the cold

A LITTLE over a year ago, the quarterback Jeff George was about to be fired by his third club. The talented but temperamental passer, already released by Indianapolis and Atlanta, was rapidly wearing out his welcome in Oakland, and it came as no surprise when he was dismissed at the end of the season.

During a 10-year career, George has earned a reputation as selfish, a thrower of tantrums and touchdowns in equal measure, whose self-interest is severely at odds with the game's team ethos.

Many were surprised when the Minnesota Vikings signed him in the summer to back up their starter, Randall Cunningham, but the move has yielded a rich dividend. With Cunningham struggling, the Vikings turned to their maverick playmaker, and he has responded by leading them to five successive victories, the most recent Minnesota's 35-27 triumph over San Diego. George completed 28 of 43 passes for 363 yards and four touchdowns, a performance which earned glowing praise from his coach, Dennis Green. "I don't know that there has ever been a quarterback to come into a system and have the kind of success he's had in his first year," Green said. "For the first time in his career, he's won five games in row."

George is surrounded by talented personnel and has already forged a strong bond with the receivers Cris Carter and Randy Moss. If he can keep his volatile personality in check, he has the ability to fulfil the promise he brought to the game when he was the first player selected in the 1990 collegiate draft.

The future looks less exciting for Kordell Stewart, sacked as the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback following Sunday's 27-20 home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Stewart was benched after completing only five of 11 pass attempts for 35 yards and two interceptions, the second of which was returned for a touchdown by Rodney Heath, giving the visitors a 24-3 lead.

Stewart's replacement, Mike Tomczak, threw a pair of touchdowns, but the Bengals, the worst team in the league, held out for an unexpected triumph. After the game Pittsburgh's coach, Bill Cowher, announced that Tomczak would be the team's starter for the foreseeable future. "I'm not sad, and I'm not pouting," said Stewart. "It's just not working right now."

Things are not working for Seattle's Jon Kitna. In a bruising 16-3 loss to Tampa Bay, Kitna gave up five interceptions and a fumble to Tampa's smothering defence as the visitors from Florida maintained their push for a play-off place.

Victory did not come without cost, however. Trent Dilfer, the Tampa quarterback, will be out for at least six weeks after breaking a collar-bone.

Cris Dishman was the unlikely hero of Kansas City's 37-34 win in Oakland. The veteran defensive back, released by Washington last year after a string of howlers, restored his reputation by scoring two touchdowns, one an interception return, the other a fumble return, to lead the Chiefs back from the brink of defeat. Kansas City completed a vital win when Pete Stoyanovich converted a 45-yard field goal in the dying seconds.

The Jacksonville Jaguars may boast the best record in the NFL with 10 wins from 11 games, but they continue to look less than convincing. Their 30-23 win over struggling Baltimore was only confirmed when James Stewart scored on a four-yard run inside the final two minutes.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee