MMQB Mail: Notes on OT, the Colts, 12-men penalty and an explanation
Four topics this morning: Overtime, how impressive the Indianapolis skill-position machine is, what really happened on the 12-men-in-the-huddle play, and your Tweet-rage over my choice of material for Monday Morning Quarterback this week.
But there's one thing you should know as you suggest different ways to go about fixing overtime, if you believe, as I do, that the system is inherently unfair and needs to be overhauled: Don't invent new rules. Don't suggest the college rule, with alternating possessions beginning at the opposing 25, don't suggest the first team to six points win, don't suggest an eight-minute time clock. Because the one thing I've learned from talking to members of the Competition Committee about overtime recently (not in the past couple of weeks, but the past couple of years) is they chafe at inventing guidelines that would make the game in overtime different than the game in the first four quarters. I think normal kickoff, normal ways of scoring and some re-jiggering of sudden death is the only way the system has a chance to get fixed.
That is why I have advocated a simple tweak to the rules: Ensure both teams get to touch the ball once in overtime, either by an offensive possession for each team or by a turnover on the first series of overtime that results in a defensive touchdown. I am not holding my breath.
Keep in mind that Garcon is a second-year player from tiny Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, and Collie is a fourth-round rookie from BYU. Neither played at football factories. Both have immersed themselves in the Indianapolis offensive system and bought into the In Manning We Trust philosophy, just like every other skill player who walks through the door at the Colts practice facility.
For Manning to show the trust in these two receivers so early in their professional careers (they've combined for 134 catches in 18 games this year) tells me Manning was ready to turn the page after the on-again, off-again late career of
I expect Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to play Manning the way he played
I thought I'd explain the process I went through over the weekend and how it differed from usual weeks. Then, if you still are in a ripping frame of mind, have at it.
I usually write about 8,000 words, in-season, in Monday Morning Quarterback. This week, I was writing the NFC Championship Game cover story for Sports Illustrated, which is about a 2,200-word story and a different kind of writing. I'm trying to write things in there that no one else will write before Wednesday afternoon, when our magazine comes out. That entails working quite a bit after the game, which obviously cuts into my MMQB writing time.
So this week, I figured, my game's going to be over about 10 p.m. Eastern Time. I'll be tied up with interviews and maybe going out to see players or coaches after they leave the stadium, and I'd be really pressed for time. I got out of the Superdome about midnight Eastern, then visited Saints coach
When I knew my schedule would be crazy last week, I prepared two items for the columns that I thought would be interesting for the masses -- my first interview with
The reason for my lack of Colts coverage is that often I try to do a phone interview with a player or coach from a big game, but to do so this week would have been difficult while covering another game; it's a bit impractical to interview a player from another game for 15 minutes and miss the game I'm covering. Not impossible, but difficult. So I knew I'd be giving that game short-shrift, unfortunate in the column.
Now, as far as the New Orleans-based coverage goes, I thought there were three interesting angles: the Favre interception/possible end of career/big beating he took; the questionable play-calling and 12-men penalty by the Vikes on their last drive; and the story of the Saints making the Super Bowl. For Sports Illustrated, the story has to be the team that moves on, not the team that is left in the wake, and so I chose to do the Saints marching on for the mag. The Vikings stuff I chose to lead the online column.
I knew at the time it would be odd to write more Vikings than anything else, but when you have to make difficult journalism decisions, they're not always going to be popular. If you don't agree (and I know many of you don't, based on your advice that I should eat various inedible items and do terrible physical damage to myself and go do some more PR for Favre), at least now you understand what I was faced with.
Now onto your e-mail:
I don't know if his shoulder is sore, but I do know he missed four open receivers Sunday by slightly overthrowing or underthrowing them. That's unlike Brees. I'll be watching that on Super Sunday. But let's look at the bottom line: Eight playoff quarters, six touchdowns, no interceptions, no turnovers. As he told me after the game, his goal Sunday was to play turnover-free, and he did.
You're onto something. When Gregg Williams took over the Saints' defense, he put into place something none of his players had done before: At the beginning of practice, he has every defensive player go through six stations, practicing how to strip or punch out the ball. But here's the thing, Jim -- if you know that's coming, as
Yes. But in sports we look at the fact that it was 28-28 and Favre threw a terrible ball that prevented the Vikings from attempting the winning field goal. As a wise man once said (
The terrible throws he made at the end of the 2007 and 2009 NFC championship games have to be a major mark against his legacy, to be sure. You're right. Re history: I can certainly rank him among the best, and I can just as certainly say I've never ranked him the best. The best quarterback ever is