Lots of responses about the 18-game schedule (many saying they have no idea what fans Roger Goodell is talking about when he says fans want two more regular-season games), but two notes first:
Now onto your email:
ON THE 18-GAME SCHEDULE.
All true. You assume it's the 42nd players on the roster who have equal power to Drew Brees and Ray Lewis in this fight, and I can tell you that's not the case. And union leaders are happy for more jobs for lower-end players -- but only if those are the guys who are influential and running the show. They're not. The big leaders this time were all established and/or high-salaried players: Brees, Jeff Saturday, Scott Fujita, Domonique Foxworth. The lower-end guys are the transient guys, and the union, while looking out for them, is not going to fight harder to please the guys who will have two- or three-year careers than for the men who play 12 years. Now, the one point you make there that I love, and that the union should bargain hard for if it ever gets in position to support the 18-game slate, is five more roster spots per team.
KILL THE PRESEASON.
Can't help you on the marriage issue. But my feeling about the Thursday night games has changed in the last year or so. I used to think three full days between games wasn't enough -- and, obviously, it isn't. But I had an interesting conversation with Mike McCarthy last November, when the Pack was preparing to play on Thanksgiving. He loved it. He said his players loved it, because it gave the team a long weekend off after playing on Thanksgiving, and he thought it was better to take the players completely away from football for four days late in the season, rather than to continue on the same schedule and only get one or two days off after a Sunday game. That got me to thinking that a mini-bye at an unexpected time during the season is something I'd sure love to have if I were a player.
ON RANDY MOSS.
Larry Fitzgerald. At the end of his eighth season in the NFL, Jerry Rice was 30, and had caught 610 passes with 103 touchdowns. Fitzgerald has just finished his eighth year. He's 28. And he has 693 catches. He's way behind in touchdowns (his 73 is 30 behind where Rice was after eight years), but he's the kind of athletic receiver and durable player who wants to be one of the all-time greats. Fitzgerald needs 857 catches to pass Rice, and while it sounds insane, I don't think it is -- not for a guy who's had 90 catches or more in five of his eight NFL seasons.
THE MOTIVATING WORD STARTS WITH A "G.''
I'm opposed. The regular season would be devalued. Though I'm going to have something in my Monday column from the league meetings on this. Stay tuned. You'll be intrigued.
COUNT ME OUT OF THIS.
You'll see more of that now, so you should be happy. I'm not.
MORE ON JAWS.
BC DOESN'T WANT US TO USE THE DEROGATORY WORD ABOUT LIN IN PRINT.
Good point. I think, in my case, because it had been used in the ESPN headline, it seemed fair game to use in the column. But I'll remember your words the next time a racial slur is used.