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Posted: Tuesday December 13, 2005 11:07AM; Updated: Tuesday December 13, 2005 2:58PM
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MAILBAG
Peter King will answer your questions each week in Monday Morning Quarterback: Tuesday Edition.
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COULD IT BE THE YEAR OF THE HORSE? From Mike Davia of Tulsa: "With the way the Broncos have been playing over the last few weeks, do you see them making it beyond the first game of the playoffs? They are 10-3, but their last three games (Cowboys, KC, and Baltimore) seem to have indicated that their offense is struggling. Do you see the same thing?''

The offense is struggling. But that's a better defense than Denver has had in recent years, Mike. I see your point, though. If the Broncos have to face Cincinnati in their first playoff game, I worry for them. I worry for anyone facing the Bengals in this postseason. If Denver plays anyone except Cincy, I give the game to the Broncos. If it's the Bengals ... give me some time to stew on that one.

WHY DOUBT THE BUS? From Ted Clanton of Denver: "Do you really believe that Jerome Bettis is a Hall of Famer? I know that I am a complete homer, but I believe that Terrell Davis was better than Bettis in every way. He had a short career  because of an injury, but he accomplished far more than Bettis ever will. TD was absolutely fantastic.''

Ted, I can't vote for a guy for the Hall of Fame based on four full seasons. Davis just didn't play long enough. Re Bettis, I think he's the best big back (I mean, bigger than the 230ish Jim Brown and Earl Campbell -- Bettis played most of his career in the 250s) ever to play. And Ted, it's not a very good week to dog Bettis -- not after he dragged his creaky knees onto a snowy field against the No. 1 defense in football and rushed for 101 yards and prolonged the Steelers' playoff drive.

SOME WORDS FROM NEW ORLEANS. From Mickey Triche of New Orleans: "Greetings from the land of the lost. (Thanks to the mayor, guv and a Congress that can't recognize a great American city when it sees one.) There's my political rant. Reading your MMQB and TMQB gives some of us weekly joy. Give me any scenario in which the Saints get anything of value for Brooks and give us who you think should, could, (would want to) play QB for us next year. Also give us an idea of who might want to coach here, assuming you believe that Jim Haslett is done and not the answer here.''

Quarterbacks who make sense for the 2006 Saints, in order: Kerry Collins (good arm, itinerant guy), Joey Harrington (not defending him, but a change of scenery can't hurt), and, believe it or not, Steve McNair. I question whether the Titans are going to commit to him long-term. Brooks? He'll probably have to be cut. I can't see anyone giving much more than a fourth-rounder for him. Regarding the coach, good question. I have no idea whom Tom Benson would like. Neither does he, probably. My short list: Dan Reeves, Green Bay defensive coordinator Jim Bates, San Diego offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

HE JOINS ME WONDERING ABOUT THE EMPTY SEATS IN PITTSBURGH: From Bob Williams of Rochester: "I've been to Heinz Field thrice and have noticed the same amount of empty seats and wondered, 'What gives?' But then I look at the pavilion shaped ramps at the open end of the field and they are covered with fans who'd rather stand for their $55. Also the area below the Jumbotron, where they sell the extra expensive sausages, typically has a few thousand milling about due to its proximity to the field. Me? I sit in my $55 seat.''

You know, there might be something more at work here. Len Pasquarelli, a friend from ESPN.com, e-mailed Monday (he's a Pittsburgher) to say people in Pittsburgh like to stand at sports events. His dad always has, he says. That was echoed by e-mailer Joe Visgaitis, a former Pittsburgh resident, who wrote: "I've attended around 20 games there with a group of friends since it opened, and never sat in a seat once. Too much nervous energy, not to mention friends who smoke, lead us to stake out ramp space. When you look around Heinz Field and see hundreds of people on the ramps, that means hundred of empty seats.''

THAT'S RIGHT: MARINO OUT-ACTS ME. From Ken of Syracuse, N.Y.:  "Not really a question, but wanted to comment on one of your quotes, being a Pittsburgh fan and all. "I should have listened to Marino": Ace Ventura vs. The Longest Yard. Enough said.

The shame of it all. Stick to the internet, King.


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