Seattle WR Bobby Engram reacts after failing to catch a game-tying TD at the end of the Seahawks' loss to the Rams.
1. I think these are my quick-hit thoughts of the NFL weekend:
a. Why in God's name does Marty Schottenheimer settle for a 40-yard field goal in overtime with a rookie kicker when he could have made an effort to get closer?
b. Isaac Bruce looks a step slower. Torry Holt doesn't.
c. Gut feeling: Mike Holmgren stays.
d. Gotta catch that ball, Bobby Engram.
e. Has there ever been a trade so good for both teams as Mike Vick for LaDainian Tomlinson/Drew Brees/Tim Dwight?
f. Colts center JeffSaturday's doing a great job changing with Peyton Manning and knowing his pass-blocking from his run-blocking, and keeping that offensive line in tune with Manning's quick-change artistry.
g. What an incredible catch by Keenan McCardell, dragging his right foot just inside the end line. That's a professional catch right there. You know how hard it was?
h. DaunteCulpepper's an incredible weapon.
i. I really admire Matt Birk.
j. The Vikes will give Philadelphia a game.
2. I think the biggest single event of the weekend in the Super Bowl hunt happened on a little computer terminal in Foxboro, Mass., on Friday. The New England Patriots dispatched word to the NFL office that went something like this: "Patriots place CB Ty Law on reserve-injured list.'' Folks, you can't underestimate the importance of this move. It means the guy who baited and killed Peyton Manning last year with three interceptions won't be around for the rematch this weekend in Foxboro.
3. I think I'm not going to gloss over Miami bringing Saban on board, the most important hiring of the postseason, just because it is six days old. The Dolphins will win again thanks to Saban, I just don't know how soon. His organizational skills and demanding nature will force those around him to ratchet up their games. Now before I lavish praise on one of the best five coaches at any level of football today, let me first mention a dumb thing that the new regime has done. The team has closed the media workroom in the northwest corner of the building. Not smart. The crew covering the Dolphins, many of whom I know well, are an oft-acerbic media group anyway. Will throwing them out of their lair -- even for a while, until a new media policy is established -- do anything positive? Nick, some advice: Don't go into this relationship with the preconceived notion that the media's going to screw you, or they just might. Having noted that, let me point out the two things Saban said that I liked:
a. "I'm not here to predict championships. I'm here to formulate a process that helps people be successful. If we can do that, then we are going to put ourselves in a position to win a championship sometime in the future. You know last year at LSU we won the national championship. I know it's college football, but the goals of that team had nothing to do with winning a championship.''
The goals, rather, were for each player to maximize his ability, and to do that, an organization has to hire good scouts, good coaches and a good support staff, as his good friend Bill Belichick did in New England, so there will be no excuses for any player not to perform well.
b. "I am not a disciplinarian. I just have a discipline to a process of what it takes to be successful. I think there is a difference in that. We didn't discipline anybody at LSU. You didn't read about any of our players getting in trouble either. Discipline is not punishment. Discipline is doing something to get someone to change their behavior ... so you get them going toward the process of being successful."
4. I think one of my favorite stories from the season, looking back, is how SamWyche, the quarterbacks coach in Buffalo, got his guys to relax. Sometimes, not every day, when Wyche sensed his QBs were nodding off and not paying attention, he'd pull out the airline pillows he bought for them (you know the ones that fit snugly around your neck so you can, theoretically, fall asleep sitting up practically anywhere), turn off the lights, have them turn their chairs around to see a large beach-scene picture at the back of the meeting room, and call out, "Power nap time!'' Fifteen minutes later, he'd rouse them and they'd be back to work.
5. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I don't know what form it should take, but you TV guys out there are smart. There's got to be a great documentary in the life of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. I mean, just come here and see the place.
b. Coffeenerdness: Thank God for the Barnes and Noble on Oneida Street in Ashwaubenon, just down the street from Lambeau Field. Now that Seattle Grounds has closed, espresso is still possible in the Lambeau neighborhood.
c. New Grisham book coming out soon. I didn't even know one was percolating until I saw the sign at Barnes and Noble.
d. Mets get CarlosBeltran. Three observations:
1. He hit .267 last year -- that seems ridiculous for a guy you're paying $119 million.
2. More reason for the vast majority of franchises to think: This game's stratospherically unfair.
3. Good for the Mets, who ended last year as depressing a team as you could find.
e. DerekLowe to the Dodgers. Thanks for the memories.
Brett Favre walks off the field after throwing four interceptions in the Packers' loss to the Vikings.
6. I think that was one heck of a big-game stinker Brett Favre threw out there. And I don't think Favre will retire yet, but I have no inside information whatsoever. No one does. As Mike Sherman told me the other day, not even he knows what Favre is thinking. Just a hunch based on what Favre's always told me: He's going to get out when he feels he's not playing well anymore, or when he feels he's becoming a drag on the Packers. This season was the second time in his 13-year Green Bay career he completed an impressive trifecta of quarterbacking -- at least a 90 rating (92.4), at least 30 touchdown passes (30), at least 4,000 passing yards (4,088). "I know if my family was here, they'd say, 'He's coming back. We're not going to let him go out like this,'" he said last night. I'm not saying Favre might not stun us by retiring, but I also think he's playing well enough, and having too much fun, to go home to Hattiesburg just yet.
7. I think the weekend coming up is always my favorite football weekend of the year -- four games, all with great meaning, and, this year, all looking pretty competitive. The Rams will give Atlanta a great game. The Indy-New England game could be an all-timer, assuming New England can cover.
8. I think Romeo Crennel would be a great choice for the Browns.
9. I think Mike Holmgren should give the Seahawks one more chance, and vice versa.
10. I think -- and I know it's early, and these things can change -- the weather looks like it's going to be on Peyton Manning's side on Sunday in Foxboro. The Weather Channel's long-range forecast calls for a high of 30, low winds and a zero percent chance of snow or rain. Uh-oh, Pats.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King covers the NFL beat for the magazine and is a regular contributor to SI.com. Monday Morning Quarterback appears in this space every week.