MINNEAPOLIS -- Great fun getting a Tour de Twin Cities Football Monday before and during the Bears' crushing 40-14 NFC North-clinching victory over the Vikings ... and sitting in the stands for the first half of the beatdown. Five observations of the evening:
Now onto your e-mail:
VERY INTERESTING POINT.
Chris, that's a really good point. But let's take Ron Wolf, the longtime Green Bay GM, for example. When he took over the GM job late in 1991, the Packers were a consistently poor franchise that hadn't been good since the Lombardi days a quarter-century earlier. He hired Mike Holmgren to coach the team, traded for Brett Favre to quarterback the team, signed Reggie White in a tremendous upset in free-agency to be the game's biggest impact player on defense, and trained several men, including current Green Bay GM Ted Thompson, to continue the tradition he started. For much of the past 20 seasons, the Packers have been contenders, and it never, ever would have happened without Wolf. That's why I think he belongs.
RAY DOESN'T LIKE MY GOAT. "To make punter Matt Dodge the goat of the week is bit overboard. Sure, he should have hit it out of bounds, but what about the complete caving of the Giants defense in the last eight minutes? They gave up three touchdowns, which is inexcusable. What about the other 10 guys on the punt coverage team? Why didn't they tackle DeSean Jackson? Quit picking on a rookie.''
I could have made 15 players goats after that game. To me, Dodge was the most obvious for not being able to do one of the simplest things a punter has to do. You or I could have taken a ball and punted it toward the boundary. It's ridiculous the moment got to Dodge and he couldn't do it.
SOME, I SUPPOSE. BUT NOT IN THIS CASE. "How much of a responsibility is it for a quarterback to protect his receivers from taking a severe hit? For example, Austin Collie, back from a head injury only to get another concussion. While that's the nature of football, do you feel that Peyton Manning will adjust routes Collie is asked to run or base his decisions on pulling the trigger to throw to him based on tightness of coverage. Though dramatized in Hollywood fashion, I think of Cuba Gooding Jr. as Rod Tidwell complaining of the quarterback throwing high across the middle.''
Interesting, but I don't see how a quarterback could ever throw a deep, high-arcing pass to a receiver in your scenario of only throwing safe passes. How do you know when you release a ball whether a safety would be in position to intercept the ball or abuse the receiver?
ANOTHER COUNTRY HEARD FROM. "You couldn't be more wrong about playoff seedings and division winners. Division winners deserve to host a playoff game. The division setup encourages rivalries and makes football a better game. If a 12-4 team loses to a 7-9 team simply because they are playing on the road, they DESERVE to lose, in my opinion. The way things are set up now the first major imperative for every football team is WIN YOUR DIVISION! And I think it is the best thing for football. Where would it end? Should a 11-5 Wild Card team host a 10-6 division winner? That's absurd. The problem occurs very infrequently (as in never yet, right?) so why start making rules now? It's a waste.
We'll agree to disagree. I think a division winner deserves a playoff berth, always. But I think it's absurd that playoff teams are not seeded by record. If we can agree, for instance, this year that wild-card New Orleans would certainly be a better team with more wins than division-champ St. Louis, for example, then why should St. Louis play New Orleans at St. Louis' home in the playoffs?
GOODELL AND FAVRE. "Does Roger Goodell have any credibility left after not suspending Brett Favre? Seems to me that if he hadn't done anything, as soon as the investigation was concluded he would've been the first to say so. Now that so much time has passed, I am even more convinced that Favre is guilty of sexual harassment, but also that Goodell is guilty of biased treatment toward players by trying to sweep this under the rug. Doesn't this allow the next player to harass a woman to appeal a suspension by pointing to Favre's lack of punishment by the league?''
I think you know some but not all of the facts of the case, and I don't know all of them either. Let's see what decision Goodell makes, then pass judgment whether he did the right thing or screwed it up.