Reactions to TV grades, Bettis debate, Colonel Blimp
Posted: Friday January 27, 2006 1:28PM; Updated: Friday January 27, 2006 3:00PM
Expect a heated debate about Jerome Bettis when he's eligible for the Hall of Fame -- most likely five years from now.
Dr. Z will answer select user questions each week in his NFL mailbag.
Letters about my TV commentators column ate up most of this week's mailbag, which is only fair considering I devoted a major part of my life to writing it. Let's attack said mail forthwith, shall we not?
Some laudatories from Chris of Bartlett, Ill., and I thank you, then a complaint about my good grade for the Kenny Albert-Brian Baldinger team. C'mon now, Baldy does a good, honest job. You're asking too much when you call for analysis from Albert. He's a down-and-distance guy, and Baldinger is the analyst. I see practically all of them, and believe me, there are a lot worse.
Stephen of Bolinas, Calif. (you spelled it Boilinas. Is this a typo or have I been spelling it wrong all these years?) wants to start a petition to bring Dan Fouts back as an NFL announcer. Hey, I'll be your first signer. Fouts is terrific. You really learn stuff from him, as you pointed out. He worked the three-in-the-booth Monday night gig for ABC for two years. The problem was that Dennis Miller was in there with him and Dennis seemed to resent serious analysis. If Fouts were to return, I'll bet that he'd be the first five-star commentator I've had for four or five years.
Randy Cross seems to make two fellas cross: Aaron of Morgantown,W. Va., and Michael of Middleboro, Mass. Aaron says Cross is biased against his Steelers. Mike says that Cross spent a Dolphins-Patriots game calling Belichick "Cowher" all night. Don't know why Randy would be down on the Steelers. When he was a 49er, the teams faced each other only occasionally, but he did have to play against Joe Greene, which might have wigged him out a bit. As far as the Night of the name-freeze ... oh, I've had that happen, too, and people were very kind to me. One lady put a blanket over my knees. Another one brewed me some tea. A third one gave me a quarter. Randy's taken a lot of violent hits. Be kind.
Greg of Nashville, Tenn., offers thanks for the column, and I'd say that's a pretty meager offering ... no no, just kidding, I appreciate your sentiments (what the hell's gotten into me?). He says that if I think the NFL is bad I ought to try college football or basketball on the FOX regional channel. Well, I watch my share of NCAA football, and as I said before, Fouts is as good or better than anyone doing NFL games, and Chris Spielman will come up with some startlingly accurate observations too.
I swear ... in one MAC game he suggested that a defensive lineman try to slap the ball out when the QB was going through his end of game kneels. His partner laughed at him because this kind of thing is never done, you see, and Spielman said, "I don't care, they'd never expect it." And bingo! The nose tackle does just that thing. And a big hullbaloo erupts on the field and everybody's yelling and the officials confer and finally drop the flag. But the guy did it. He actually did it. And Spielman called it.
As for most of the rest of them, they're usually doing one of two things -- plugging the brilliance of all the assistant coaches, or complimenting the host facility on the great treatment they've received. Which always includes that "terrific luncheon buffet they gave us." I've eaten some of those. Yuk potato salad, heavy on the pickles. Shrimp straight from Freezer Pack No. 3, with a taste to match. A pile of cold cuts. Hot creations that usually have that "I've been sitting in the warming tray too long" taste. Fooey!