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You may hate Favre now, but you'll miss him
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The NFL playoff games have been so one-sided and boring that I find myself looking forward to your Truths column more than the games. Can you please write something that spices up the playoff weekend?
10. Brett Favre reminds me of Muhammad Ali -- polarizing among fans, beloved and needed by the media, a legend who will be celebrated most fondly long after he leaves the game.
Everyone should be rooting for Favre in the NFC title game (6 p.m. ET, FOX) this weekend . His potential journey to the Super Bowl at age 40 should be a heartwarming story. Unfortunately, we, the media, ruined the Favre story. We focused so much attention on his retirements and un-retirements that football fans outside of Minnesota can't stand him and fear what would happen to Super Bowl coverage if Favre is in the game.
Will John Madden come out of retirement to call the game and remind viewers that Favre is a carefree, gunslinging kid just having fun out there?
The truth is a terrific defense, but no one wants to hear the truth about Favre anymore.
Has heavyweight boxing been the same since Holmes pounded Ali into retirement? No. Football fans don't know it yet, but they're going to miss Brett Favre. He's quit and come back like a boxer. He's a narcissistic self-promoter like Ali. And Favre floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.
Ali performed before the 24-hour news cycle. If ESPN existed during Ali's time, The Greatest might have been the most hated man on the planet.
9. The whining about the Buffalo Bills choosing Chan Gailey "over" Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is unsophisticated, irrational and embarrassing.
It's foolish to scream racism every time a retread white coach gets a job. It's the equivalent of a Rush Limbaugh wannabe screaming affirmative action every time a black coach gets hired.
Jim Caldwell was handed the keys to a Cadillac in Indianapolis. His resume was far from overwhelming. Mike Tomlin was handed the keys to a Cadillac in Pittsburgh. His resume was far from overwhelming. Raheem Morris, a kid, was given the Tampa Bay job despite a coaching career in its infancy.
The NFL hiring system is not perfect in terms of dealing with diversity issues. Frazier agreeing to a Rooney Rule-token interview with Seattle is a great example of a flaw in the system.
But black coaches are getting good jobs (Indy and Pittsburgh). Buffalo is a bad job. The owner is cheap, and the general manager is old. Frazier is probably a year away from getting a good NFL job.
8. It's mind blowing that ESPN's Mike Greenberg could accidently say "Martin Luther Coon" on national radio and TV on Martin Luther King's national holiday and ESPN take no punitive action.
I don't have any doubt that Greenberg regrets his mistake. I don't think his error necessarily paints Greenberg as a bigot. I don't think Greenberg should lose his job. But he should be required to do more than offer up a weak written apology. A short, paid suspension was warranted.
My tongue slips all the time. It's hard for me to fathom the King to Coon slip. King to Queen, King to Ding, King to Bling and King to Ring I totally get. King to Coon is off the table.
Greenberg has no discernible talent as a radio talk show host. ESPN pays him to say nothing and keep the "Mike and Mike" brand as non-controversial as humanly possible. He screwed up.
7. So anybody who writes a book is now an impeccable source on Tiger Woods' whereabouts and should immediately be placed on TV to talk about Tiger's alleged sexual addiction?
A guy with a book and a blog just feasted on Tiger's carcass this week. Tabloid magazines are offering $500,000 for a picture of Woods. We've turned Woods into a human pinata stuffed with cash.
6. Minnesota's last touchdown against the Cowboys was classless.
I don't get why anyone is defending the TD toss. Not only was it classless, it was stupid.
All this tough talk about how it's the Cowboys job to stop Minnesota from scoring and how you can't run up the score in professional football sounds like posturing. Suppose Brett Favre had been hit and injured. Rather than defending the move, Jimmy Johnson would've opened the FOX postgame show ripping Brad Childress.
The score was cheap. Keith Brooking was justified in complaining.
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5. Signing Norv Turner to an extension now is the equivalent of Carolina giving Jake Delhomme an extension after watching him implode in a playoff game a year ago.
San Diego general manager A.J. Smith is just being stubborn. Norv's onside kick decision was a fireable offense. There's a good chance the Chargers players will never trust Norv's decision-making again.
Norv isn't Bill Belichick, meaning Norv doesn't have a deep reservoir of postseason success to cover for his gaffes.
Norv stuck with LaDainian Tomlinson too long in the running game. And the Chargers played with zero composure throughout Sunday's game. A team reflects its coach.
4. Prediction: The NFL will regret hosting the Pro Bowl in Miami a week before the Super Bowl.
Not only does the league run the risk of having one of its players involved in an off-the-field nightclub incident -- which would be a public-relations nightmare -- but the horridness of the game will also get extra attention.
The game stinks. It makes the NBA All-Star Game look competitive. The No. 1 goal is for the players to avoid injuries. It's a glorified game of two-hand touch. If the AFC and NFC Championships are one-sided blowouts like just about every other NFL playoff game this year, we're looking at a month of bad football leading up to the Super Bowl.
This is just a bad idea. Players are bailing on the game. If one more AFC quarterback takes a pass, JaMarcus Russell will be named to the game. OK, that's an exaggeration. But Vince Young played half the season and now he's in the Pro Bowl.
The game belongs in Hawaii. Great weather and the plane ride to the island pretty much prevents riff-raff from loitering in the streets.
3. The Indianapolis Colts did not play well against Baltimore because they rested at the end of the regular season.
The truth is, the Colts did not play strongly against Baltimore. Indy's offense was far from sharp. Peyton Manning missed several throws. The Colts scored 20 points largely because they took control of field position on their opening drive and because Baltimore offensive coordinator Cam Cameron dozed off after his team's first possession.
In the Ravens and the Jets, the Colts face back-to-back, one-dimensional offenses. Sloppy Joe Flacco couldn't get Baltimore's passing game going.
Ed Reed's costly fumble and a bogus pass-interference call on Reed's second INT stopped the Ravens from making it a real game.
That's not sour grapes or whining. The Colts were the better team and deserved the victory. It's just Baltimore was terrible last Saturday.
2 and 1. The problem with my predictions last week is that I picked the games based on what I wanted to see happen. I desperately wanted the Colts punished for the late-season surrender, and I wanted Kurt Warner to cement his rep as the best postseason QB.
This week I'm taking my emotions out of the equation.
Colts 24, Jets 10: Mark Sanchez is no Trent Dilfer and the Jets defense is not the second coming of the Baltimore "Perfect Storm" unit. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will force Sanchez to make several critical errors. Peyton Manning won't visit Revis Island when he can have a good time visiting other areas of the New York defense. The refs will do their part to ensure Manning a safe trip to his second Super Bowl. It's going to be a group effort. Indy wins easy.
Vikings 31, Saints 17: Jared Allen, Pat Williams, Kevin Williams and Ray Edwards form the second coming of the Purple People Eaters. They'll dine on Drew Brees, who is great against the blitz but won't survive Minnesota's Cover 2. Reggie Bush, a star a week ago, won't find any breakout room this week.
You can e-mail Jason at BallState0@aol.com or follow him on Twitter.
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