I'm returning to seriousness in my Emailer of the Week Award. No more good guy. Only deep thinkers need apply. Step up,
They are nice, solid, silent, creatures ("just like you," says
He's shutting down a side of the field, Chris says, adding, "at what point do we discuss Nnamdi Asomugha as the best ever." Oh, you can discuss it all you want, but the two best I've ever seen are
When a QB is merely throwing the ball away, under a rush, and it goes to a particular corner's side of the field, I don't consider that a pass thrown at him. Also, there's the question of whether he was in zone or man coverage. It matters. I remember one year I had a thing about the Giants'
And here's a big one, unique to my own system. When a game no longer is in doubt I don't record those kind of stats because they come in garbage time and thus are meaningless. My own stats are what I call, "competitive stats."
Here's what my charts show about Nnamdi. I've seen three Raiders games so far. Against Denver in the opener, one pass was completed against his coverage, a six-yard hitch to
PS: Glad you enjoyed my tips on the Oregon Wine Country...No, Linda, absolutely not. Absolutely not the reason I picked him for my award. The very idea.
Oh yes, almost forgot. This lengthy diatribe, complete with usual digressions, is in answer to the email of
• Which brings us to the accursed rankings themselves. I know they inspire fury. I know they're not fair. But of the 1,500 or so letters to that affect,
"Tell him the real reason," says a grim-faced redheaded person, who has suddenly become my emailer's ally.
Honey, what exactly do you mean?
Tell him. TELL HIM!
All right, all right already. I was, ahem, pretty upset that they unloaded on
And now the hanging jury has got real grounds for capital punishment, and fingers are being taken out of their finger-cases and being pointed. This is grounds for court martial, for torture and worse. What should we do, to teach you a lesson?
Well, I hope you're happy now, Bob. Just look what you stirred up. This will never happen again. I swear it. I mean someone made me admit it. Can we move on now, please?
• I need an upper real bad. And here it is. From
• All of you who want to hear a story raise your hands. OK, I spotted you over there, sir. This is in answer to
On second thought, I think I've told this story already.
"Tell it. They can hear it again," says Linda B.Z., who's trying to get on my good side after that vicious number she pulled.
Super Bowl VIII, 1974, Miami vs. Minnesota in Houston, Hunter is covering it for
"What's that?" he asks. I tell him.
"How much to get in?"
"Are you gonna let me in it?" He's looking for rejection, I can tell.
"Only if you've got a buck."
"Well, I've got a buck!"
Now he gets this crafty look. "Can I get in more than once?"
"Use different names. A dollar for each pick."
"I'm gonna win this thing," he says. I tell him I hope he does.
So he enters five or six times. None of his selections comes close, incidentally, but he kind of likes the idea that his little bit of larceny didn't disturb me.
"You want to go out somewhere tonight?" he says. I tell him OK. We wind up in, I kid you not, the toughest bar I've ever been in. Nothing but 250-pounders with scars and ponytails. The kind of a place where you drink your drink and stare straight ahead and speak when spoken to. So we're sitting there, and the interesting thing about him, which I find out later, is that when he's stoned, it's hard to tell. He gets real quiet, which he did -- for a while. Then all of a sudden he blurts out, "This place ain't so tough."
I'm conscious of a kind of stirring around, a shifting of weight. He repeats it, louder this time. The bartender comes over to me and says, quietly, "You'd better get your friend out of here."
I tell him, "Hunter, let's go someplace else." Now he's shouting. "Nobody's running me out! The hell with them, the hell with this place!"
I tell him very frankly, "Hunter, I've got two little ones at home and they'd like to see their daddy again, and I don't know about you, but I'm leaving." He snarls something I can't understand, and out into the Houston night I go. Next day he shows up in the press room with lumps all over his forehead. God knows what they did to him.
I buy a copy of
"Paul Zimmerman of the NY Post ran the writers pool in a professional manner."
Hooray! I came away clean. Might not have if I'd have hung around that bar.
• Whew, that story wore me out, thinking about it again.
By Saturday I'm kind of puffed, so I watch the college games recreationally, on TV, taking notes on potential draft prospects. Don't go. High school? Afraid not, although I really would like to get a look at the pure single wing that Xavier in NYC runs. In answer to question No. 2, my book will not be updated. My personal memoir is on hold, until the agent and I can straighten out some matters.
• Now we're into mythology.
Well, I'll be swoggled. OK, Mike, try this one. The Cleveland Browns were named for a person,
Answer will be found in next week's column. "You can't do that," says my Redhead, a real army brat. OK, at the end of this column. "No, no and no," she says. "Tell him now."
OK. Buffalo Bills.
I can only find easy answers. They'd be more consistent, which is hardly news. I don't think they'd have gotten blown out by St. Louis the way they were.
Good guys, solid citizens. "Football," Herman once said, "is like life. You come in crying, you go out crying." Randy was a thick-legged Nebraska farm boy, who came in as a rookie in 1967, my second year covering the club. One day they had this barbecue in camp. Randy said, "We'd really have a feed if my father'd bring one of his critters down here." The remark followed him for the rest of his life.
"They're still kidding me about it, 40 years later," he said at the dinner. "Hey, Randy, how are your critters doing?"
I beg to differ. I'm very fond of the Titans.