Posted: Monday January 1, 2007 11:04AM; Updated: Tuesday January 2, 2007 2:00AM
Quote of the Week I
Tiki Barber has 10,449 rushing yards and 5,183 receiving yards in his career.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Peter King will answer your questions each week in Monday Morning Quarterback: Tuesday Edition.
"Could it be 'Good night, Tiki,' and Good Morning America for Tiki Barber?'' -- NFL Network host Rich Eisen, as cameras panned the field before the Giants-Redskins on Saturday night and showed Barber before his last regular-season game.
Quote of the Week II
"JaMarcus wants to go out and show the world how good he really is. He's going to have a great game. You can see he wants to outdo Brady Quinn.'' -- LSU wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, on teammate JaMarcus Russell, the junior quarterback who many pro scouts think is a lock to enter the April draft. If Russell does, he would compete with Notre Dame quarterback Quinn to be the first overall pick. The two face off in Wednesday night's Sugar Bowl.
The Awards Section
Offensive Player of the Week
Tiki Barber, RB, New York Giants. How fulfilling it must be, as a premier athlete, to play arguably the best game of your life in the last regular-season game of your life? I mean, when has that ever happened? "I was just running,'' Barber said after his 23-carry, 234-yard, three-touchdown performance lifted the Giants over Washington 33-27.
Defensive Player of the Week
Anthony Maddox, DT, Houston. The second-year player from the football powerhouse of Delta State strip-sacked Cleveland quarterback Charlie Frye, recovered the fumble and ran it back 47 yards for the clinching touchdown in the third quarter of the Texans' 14-6 win over Cleveland. For the day, Maddox had nine tackles, and the Texans finished the season a respectable 3-2 in their last five games.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Tennessee CB/PR/KR Pacman Jones. Punt returns versus New England: 20 yards, 81 yards (touchdown). This guy has become one of the most dangerous players in the league.
Detroit WR Mike Furrey. Not only did he catch 11 balls to give him an incredible 98 catches for the season, but the former safety, who also is on the Lions' punt team, downed a second-half Lion punt at the Cowboy 1-yard line. Mike Martz did a great job creating a weapon out of Furrey, a guy who'd never been a weapon in his football life.
Coaches of the Week
Bill Cowher, head coach, Pittsburgh. No one lasts 15 years in one place, and it is a tribute to Cowher's stick-to-itiveness and loyalty that he remained in Pittsburgh that long. Finishing 8-8 with a team that struggled so mightily early -- the Steelers were 2-6 in the first half, 6-2 in the second -- is a tribute to Cowher's ability to keep his team motivated and prepared week in and week out. Here's the number that really matters to me: Cowher and Joe Gibbs have each coached 15 regular seasons. Cowher's teams won 149 games in his 15 years. Gibbs' teams won 145 in his.
Rod Marinelli, head coach, Detroit. The Lions played, and played hard. They hadn't won a road game in 53 weeks, they visited a team that needed the game, and they legitimately outplayed the Cowboys. The hiring of Marinelli will prove to be MattMillen's best decision.
Goat of the Week
Shayne Graham, K, Cincinnati. What a disgrace this PAT/field-goal unit is. Last week they blew a chance at overtime in Denver by screwing up the tying extra point. And Sunday, with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter of a 17-17 game with the Steelers, Graham hit a perfect slice down the right side of the fairway, missing wide right by three feet on what should have been a piece of cake 39-yarder. Ridiculous. It's just as ridiculous that the Bengals finished 8-8. Blame special teams, fans of the striped.
Stat of the Week
1. The NFL regular-season record for 200-yard games by a running back is six, by O.J. Simpson. Barber finishes his career with five.
2. Barber has a league-high 5,040 yards rushing since opening day 2004, an average of 105 per game. He is the only back in football to average more than 100 rushing yards a game over the last 48 regular-season weeks.
3. On his last carry of the third quarter, Barber ran 33 yards around left end. But center Shaun O'Hara was called for holding about 10 yards away from where Barber was running, which negated the play. Had O'Hara not held, Barber's totals for the night would have been 24 carries for 267 yards.
4. Barber finished his career with an 80-game streak of leading the Giants in rushing. That's every game since opening day 2002.
1. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans. The final straw for me was seeing the Saints, 3-13 and orphans of Katrina 12 months ago, march into the Meadowlands last week and put a 23-point whipping on the playoff-starved Giants, with Brees -- despite his receivers dropping eight first-half passes -- piloting the way. Again, my decision to choose Brees over Tomlinson is based on four things: 1) how far the Saints have come in one year (from the bottom of the NFC South and the second-worst record in football to the top of the NFC South and the second seed in the NFC playoffs) and Brees was the biggest on-field reason for the climb; 2) how screwed the Saints would be without him, with JamieMartin or some far lesser player at quarterback; 3) how well he has played, with an NFL-high 4,372 passing yards, and performances like his five-touchdown, 377-yard strafing of the Cowboys at Dallas; 4) to a much lesser degree, how much he's meant to a wounded city. "Drew's not only the MVP of the league, in my opinion,'' said Saints GM Mickey Loomis. "He's been the MVP of our city coming back.''
2. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego. In any other year, he'd be my MVP. I cannot say anything remotely critical about him, or say that he wasn't incredibly valuable to his team with 31 touchdowns and more than 2,300 total yards. All I can say is I think Brees was more valuable to the Saints this season than any other player in football was to his team.
3. Tom Brady, QB, New England. Snapshots of a great season, despite what the stats say: Wowing the Bengals and Vikings with 38- and 31-point road performances, survival wins over Chicago and Jacksonville when Brady got the living tar beat out of him.
4. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis. Not his best year, nor the most impactful. But without Manning, the Colts might be 6-10. Might be.
5. Jason Taylor, DE, Miami. The Patriots think he's the best defensive player they face every year. The Jets think the same thing. And ask Rex Grossman what he thinks after Taylor's Velcro-like interception returned for a touchdown in Week 9.
Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Former NFL running back Dorsey Levens is the Xavier University football coach in "We Are Marshall.''
Well-traveled NFL offensive line coach Jim McNally is an offensive line coach in the movie.
And Kate Mara, the daughter of New York Giants vice president Chris Mara, is a Marshall cheerleader in the movie.
Enjoyable/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week
Aboard the crowded 8:11 New Jersey Transit train from Upper Montclair to Penn Station last week for the HBO show, I heard the clip-clip-snip-clip-snip sound of a woman cutting her fingernails with a nail clipper, then flicking them from her lap to the floor. I looked at the guy next to me, and we raised eyebrows. I shook my head. "Dare you to say something,'' I said. He just shook his head.
So that is permitted in the human race now? The clipping of nails, and disposing of them on the floor? Who was it, in some famous movie, who said, "I weep for the future?'' I echo that.