Posted: Thursday April 26, 2007 11:12AM; Updated: Thursday April 26, 2007 11:12AM
David of Denver wonders why there's all this cloak and dagger stuff with the first pick. Why don't the Raiders just announce whom they're picking and then cut a deal, if anyone wants to? Because when you're mysterious, when you lie and misrepresent and steer people in different directions, you get the price up. This is what drives the stock market, so why begrudge the NFL the same kind of fun?
"Which is more creative," asks Paul of Orlando, "college or pro football?" College. Because more people dare to be different. Too many people in the NFL are afraid of being considered odd. My town, Denville, N.J., is the same way. Part two is about Norm Chow, whom he refers to as "the father of the modern day college passing game," and at this juncture I draw the curtain because there is no progressing from a point as silly as this one.
Now that the NFL seems to have a new personal conduct policy in effect, how will this influence the by-play between pro football super stars and local law enforcement? That's the question asked by Robert of Atlanta. More pressure on an arresting officer? Less?
Well, the relationship between cops and rich ballplayers has at times been heavily strained ... unless, of course, the club is smart enough to try to create some sensible kind of liaison ahead of time. The 49ers, for instance, worked closely with the local sheriff's office. If a player were out late, for instance, and he'd been drinking, there was a number he could call to summon a driver to get him home. Usually there was a number he could call to alert someone in law enforcement that trouble was brewing.
In other words, a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff took place, thanks to Eddie DeBartolo. You could argue that this gave NFL players an advantage that other citizens didn't enjoy, but Eddie paid for the privilege in many ways, charitable donations and whatever. It's the way things work, and if you were a player, wouldn't you like to be with an organization that had the foresight to try to keep you out of potential trouble?
Last week I said Deion was the best pure athlete I'd seen in the NFL. John of North Canton, Ohio, says Rod Woodson was every bit the athlete, plus he could tackle and blitz. A better football player and a better athlete, says John. Tougher and more physical? Yes. A better cover man? No. Woodson was a terrific athlete, at the track and field level, but Deion played major league baseball, don't forget. I'll accept your argument, but to me, Deion was just more fluid, more naturally gifted.
Here's another comparison that calls me to task. I said discus thrower Al Oerter was the greatest competitor I'd ever seen. How about Lance Armstrong, says Greg of Layton, Utah? I said "seen," that I'd personally seen, and I never was out there watching the bike races. There will now be a short intermission while someone nearby aims a pecan pie at my head.
"That is the lamest, stupidest copout I've ever read!" someone nearby is yelling, the flames of her voice matching the flames of her hair. "Now correct that damn idiot nonsense, or I will." OK, OK, just kidding ... can't you take a joke? Truth is that I forgot all about Armstrong when I was writing that thing last week. Heavy rain outside. Little Jake the tabby had just caught a grass snake. All hell was breaking loose. How about giving me a tie on this one? Armstrong, yes, unquestioned magnificence. But I was in the arena when Oerter performed his heroics. A tie, waddya say? Be a sport.
Bret of San Francisco says he watched the NFL channel's story of the 1967 Packers and was surprised that despite the loss of halfback Elijah Pitts and fullback Jim Grabowski during the year they still won the Super Bowl. Has anyone else ever done this?
Done what? Lost starters and still won? Yeah, lots of teams, and don't forget that their loss didn't exactly leave the Packers short-handed. Donny Anderson took over for Pitts. Next year he was in the Pro Bowl. Grabowski was a decent player, but no better than Ben Wilson, who replaced him. And coming in for spot duty was the rookie Travis Williams, who averaged 41.1, that's right 41.1 yards per kick return that season. Pretty good cast of characters, wouldn't you say? And thanks for what you wrote about my work, Bret.
I've saved the best for last. Is this my E-mailer of the Week? No. There is none this week. Sorry, but I'm not going to donate first round money to second-day talent. Jonathan of St. Francisville, La., and I'll thank you now for your kind words because you might not be in such a good mood later on, asks, "Is it possible that Brett Favre could be the first player to receive two (2) busts in Canton? Of course, neither would be the same ... "
Well, thank God we've cleared that up. But why two, Jon ... may I call you Jon? Because, he says, "is it not only fitting to celebrate the most important player in recent memory with a gesture that shows how far and above he is relative to his contemporaries?" Kind of like Caesar appointing himself Emperor for Life, huh?
Well, I get the sneaking suspicion that this might not happen. But two busts? Well, technically speaking, you could say a left and a right one. May I suggest, however, that along with this award, you retroactively endow the following with a second bust, and I'm mentioning only QBs now, not Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor, Jerry Rice types -- John Unitas, Joe Montana, Sid Luckman, Sammy Baugh, Otto Graham ... Linda, would you please get me that list I have taped to the Frigidaire. Hold on a moment, Jon, this'll only take a minute ...