Who's Hot / Who's Not

October 16, 2005

WHO'S HOT

Broncos
These guys have the horses: In winning four straight, they've had three different tailbacks cut loose, most recently sophomore Tatum Bell (above), who--wearing Clinton Portis's old number--reeled off 34- and 55-yard TDs as the Broncs shook off the rain to beat the Skins.

Detroit Fans
The 2-2 Lions are alone in first place (!) fewer than 115 days before their hometown hosts Super Bowl XL. And Hockeytown is back in business: The Red Wings started 3-0, including a win over Calgary during which the crowd erupted when the Lions' win over Baltimore was announced.

Al Harris
Packers CB recently became a partner in Curry Motorsports--a NASCAR team that aims to increase minority involvement--and on Sunday he had speed to burn. In Green Bay's trouncing of New Orleans, Harris snagged two interceptions, had a TD and a sack. "Al Harris," Packers DE Kenny Peterson told the Wisconsin State Journal, "is just an animal."

Texas Football
Unbeaten Texas stampeded through the 100th Red River Shootout, unbeaten Texas Tech gave Nebraska its first loss, and the 3-2 Dallas Cowboys manhandled the Eagles.

WHO'S NOT

Bears
Giving up 14 points in the final 3:02 of a loss to Cleveland on Sunday stunned Chicago--"I'm not sure what just happened," lineman John Tait told the city's Tribune --and brought up a grisly stat: No Bears club has made the playoffs after starting 1-3.

Braves Fans
As if that epic playoff loss to the Astros weren't hurtful enough: A recent study by the American Society of Microbiology reports that 37% of men and 16% of women fail to wash their hands after using the Turner Field restrooms at Braves games--making that venue the least hygienic of the 6,300 restrooms checked.

Umpires
NFL ump Butch Hannah (below) got socked in the eye by the Bucs' Ronde Barber (who was aiming for Jet Kevin Mawae). MLB ump Ed Montague got left empty-handed. He returned Padres closer Trevor Hoffman's missing wallet but didn't get the $100 reward because, Hoffman said, "I thought it might look funny giving money to an umpire."

Texans Football
When will it end? The Texans have scored just a TD per game. Since firing offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, they've lost twice, falling to 0-4. CB Dunta Robinson: "We just don't have heart."

SI PLAYERS POLL
Who is the NFL's most overrated QB?
Michael Vick, Falcons 13%
Eli Manning, Giants 8%
Daunte Culpepper, Vikings 7%
Brett Favre, Packers 7%

Who is the NFL's most underrated QB?
Drew Brees, Chargers 13%
Tom Brady, Patriots 10%
Trent Green, Chiefs 8%
Daunte Culpepper, Vikings 7%

FAST FACTS Favre and the Bengals' Carson Palmer were the only QBs who began the year as starters to not get an underrated vote.... Culpepper is on pace to throw 16 TDs and 40 picks.... Quarterbacks gave 23% of their underrated vote to Green and 15% of their overrated vote to the Broncos' Jake Plummer.

[ Based on a survey of 357 NFL players ]

For an expanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/Players.

PHOTOE. BAKKE/WIREIMAGE.COM (BELL) PHOTOBILL SMITH/WIREIMAGE.COM (URLACHER) PHOTOAL MESSERSCHMIDT/WIREIMAGE.COM (FANS) PHOTOSTEVE LEVIN/WIREIMAGE.COM (HARRIS) PHOTOTIM SHAFFER/REUTERS (HANNAH) PHOTOBOB ROSATO (VICK) PHOTOPETER READ MILLER (BREES)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)