Three quick-hit thoughts:
? Charles Woodson belongs in Denver. It's perfect for him. As Denver TV man Vic Lombardi reports, Woodson is scheduled to visit the Broncos to discuss a safety role there. To me, he's Rod Woodson at 35 helping the Ravens win a Super Bowl -- the perfect locker-room guy and selfless team leader to help a team in serious Super Bowl contention get over the hump. Woodson should be a 20-snaps-a-game player. Not to mention he'd never have let Joe Flacco throw a Hail Mary over his head in the final minute of a won game in the playoffs, as incumbent Rahim Moore did last January.
? Chuck Muncie has died at 60. One of the best backs in football as the '70s turned into the '80s, Muncie was nearly as important as Dan Fouts to the Chargers down the stretch of their amazing playoff run in 1981. He rushed for 19 touchdowns that season, then followed it up with 120- and 94-yard days in the playoffs as San Diego won the overtime thriller in Miami, then lost in the Ice Bowl AFC title game at Cincinnati. Amazing eight-day turnaround. San Diego played a game at Miami with temperatures in the 80s one weekend, then played in minus-37 wind chill the next. The big-bodied Muncie fell victim to a cocaine addiction, got bounced from football in 1984, was jailed for 18 months for cocaine trafficking, had a long recovery, then rebounded to become an advisor to athletes at his alma mater, Cal. Those who knew him late in life say he was an unselfish person trying to give back to kids trying to straighten their lives out, even helping some gang members with tattoo removal so they could move on unencumbered by their pasts as they tried to start new lives.
? Love the new stadium design in Minneapolis. I think most people would have loved seeing a retractable roof there, but the translucent roof -- at least according to the design -- will allow the entire place to be bathed in natural light, and to mine some of the solar power to cut down on the energy needed to run the place. It will be south-facing, designed to allow the most light in the place for noon kickoffs throughout the autumn. One more point: The stadium will have five gigantic doors that can be opened on a temperate day to allow a feel of an outdoor game. Here's hoping the Vikings open those doors for a few games each year.
Now for your email:
THIS IS A GOOD QUESTION.
I don't know, Rob. I'm no fan of the name either. But now Snyder is dug in, and I doubt, barring protests from Native American groups (who don't seem to be mobilizing in protest), that it's something the league would take on as a cause.
SHOULD WRITERS BE ALLOWED IN DRAFT ROOMS?
Well, Jonathan, most teams in the NFL obviously agree with you, because I don't think there's going to be a rush to let us in draft rooms. My point is a simple one: I believe the NFL is always in search of the next great media event. You can see it with the production of the Scouting Combine, the vast increase of draft coverage, the free-agency season, training-camp coverage etc. You probably read my story on the Rams' draft room. Not every one is going to be that suspenseful, obviously. But the emotion in a draft room after a pick is made or after a trade is made is something a team should share with its fans. What's the downside? The team and media person would agree in advance on ground rules. Ask the Rams what the downside is -- now -- to allowing me to write about the draft-day experience. I'm sure they'd say absolutely none.
PEOPLE CHANGE. TIMES CHANGE.
Good question. I've known Pioli for a while, and I think every guy who is in his position believes he has a plan for being a general manager, and thinks that plan in a good one. Then Pioli got in that position and made some rules that, in retrospect, he probably wouldn't have made. But he came from the Parcells-Belichick school. What did you expect him to do? I've had some strident conversations with him over the years about how to treat the press, and I can tell you I'd have been like him had I studied one way of doing things for so many years. And I probably would have learned that some of those things were wrong, and if I ever got another chance, I'd change some of the things. I believe if Pioli does have another chance, he will warm up to the media more. As for his lot in life now, with the way the NFL is saturated with coverage now, why not see if it's the kind of gig and lifestyle Pioli would want for himself and for his family?
NOW THIS IS A GOOD IDEA.
From your lips to the NFL's ears.