Wail mail (cont.)
From Todd Christensen, former Raiders tight end and NBC network commentator: "I know you worked with the late Charlie Jones, as I did, at NBC. You must have some stories to tell."
I worked with him just once, as third man in the booth for the 1990 Seattle-K.C. game, the one in which Derrick Thomas had seven sacks. The second man in the booth was former Browns coach Sam Rutigliano, a Brooklyn guy whom I could trace all the way back to his roots at Lafayette High. Oh we had a fine old time, whooping and hollering after almost every play, as Charlie, an extremely nice guy, a real gentleman, tried to keep things under control.
After the game, I heard one of the technicians say to his buddy, "Worst thing I ever heard in my life." Obviously he never heard what went on on my wedding night (first marriage).
Warren of Maryland Heights, Mo., wonders why one player can't handle both kicking and punting duties, and thus save his team a roster spot. Are the techniques so different? There have been some who did. Tommy Davis of the 49ers, Sam Baker of the Redskins and Eagles. I think what happens these days is that they decide, pretty early, say in high school, to make a decision as to what to specialize in, probably because the money is so good now. The feeling is that you probably could do both but excel in only one. As far as the techniques themselves, yeah, they're different, but I imagine someone who wanted to double his practice time could get fairly proficient in both skills.
Thomas of Eden Prairie, Minn., feels if Michael Strahan gets a first ballot Hall of Fame selection, then Richard Dent surely deserves entry as well. Strahan was better playing the run. He lined up on the left side, the power side. Dent was a DRE, playing the sacking side. He was a great pass rusher, Strahan was, I believe, a better all-around player.
More Hall of Fame. Brandon of Arvada, Wyo., feels that Pro Bowl selection meant more, when considering someone's Hall of Fame qualifications years ago, than it does now. It's more of a popularity contest now. I agree 100 percent, and I try to point that out at our Selection Committee meetings when the number of Pro Bowl selections is always brought up.
Here's a tough one from Tim of Arlington, Va.: "What position in the NFL is most overvalued?" He includes either paycheck or number of roster spots it eats up. Let me phrase it another way. Which position is best for hiding a weak sister? In the old days it was center. Then the Chiefs put Curley Culp on the nose, over the center, in Super Bowl IV and the whole thing changed. Let's see, if I had a starter right now that I had to cover for, I guess he'd be the free safety. But a great one really can help your defense, so he might not fall into the overvalued class. Oh hell, they all have a certain value. Don't ask me things this tough. I'm just back from vacation, remember?
There's always one every column, and here it comes. Tony of Dayton asks me to "settle a bet. A good friend argues that the main reason why goalposts were moved to the back of the end zone was not because of the obvious obstruction issues, but because wide receivers were hooking them with their arms to get a quick change of direction and instant separation from defensive backs for easy touchdowns. He is nuts, right?"
And he ain't the only one.
Actually what was happening was that zookeepers were bringing out their monkeys, to give them a chance to swing on the crossbar, thus creating too many game stoppages. And if you believe that I'll tell you about the real live dolphin that tried out for linebacker in Miami.