My quickie obit on Gene Upshaw last week drew thanks from Casey of Alexandria, and I thank YOU sir, ditto from and to Tim of NYC...and finally, from Steve of Naperville, Ill., a suggestion to award Gene a second Hall of Fame bust, for his work as a union leader, as well as a player. That one hit the tilt button. One bust per man, Steve. We're into monogamy. We don't change 40-year old rules just because it might make us feel good. Remember when Reggie White died and there was some sentiment for scrapping the five-year waiting period and getting him into the Hall early? Nope, no can do. Part of the dignity of the honor depends on its tradition.
From Mike of Chicago: "I'm happy as hell Favre got traded to the Jets so you have more crap to bitch about." Huh? I'm having a little trouble coping with this one. Time for a superior brain to handle this, if I can tear her away from the Democratic primary for a minute. Linda, honey, what's this guy want from me? "Oh, he's just cutting you down," she says. "Now will you let me get back to what I'm watching?" Why yes, of course, sorry, Linda. You happy now, Mike? You've got the Flaming Redhead mad at me, along with you.
The sublime follows the ridiculous. Joe Joseph of Raeford, N.C., is my Emailer of the Week for this question: "Why was the NFL so much more enjoyable to watch when the playing fields were not so perfect and the league wasn't so corporate?" Gosh, I don't know for sure, Joe, but it sure was more human, wasn't it? I know you don't want to hear an old sportswriter crying about how we actually got to know the people we were covering, and how we actually felt welcome instead of hated. I mean when you're around a team such as the Patriots you feel as though you're in an enemy war zone. In the really old days, not many players were making much money, but there was a certain joy involved in what they were doing. Now you've got a bunch of millionaires who are always in a sour mood, whose every other utterance is, "Get out of my face." And corporate? How many ordinary fans can afford a season ticket for their family, or those dreadful Personal Seat Licenses? And yet...and yet...the game itself is still magnificent. They still haven't figured out a way to ruin it -- yet.
If the season were extended, would resulting records bear an asterisk, asks Kyle of Gaithersburg, Md. No. Never have in the past. They'd just step in and elbow the old records aside, without so much as an "excuse me."
Nat of Augusta, Ga., got annoyed, watching Joe Buck on TV, confusing an end around with a reverse. "Why don't the play-by-play guys ever get it right?" he asks. Because getting things like this right is a very low priority with them. Projecting their own personality is much more important. To answer your question: An end around can be a reverse if the flow has been one way, and then the path of the runner goes against the flow, reverses it, in other words. If there hasn't been a misdirected flow, then it's just a plain end around. Another dumb one, courtesy of the network announcers, is the call of a "double reverse" most of the time, when they're describing merely a simple reverse. A double reverse is a rare play that I've never been able to understand in the first place. You start a run right, hand off to someone reversing it and running left, then he does the same thing and gives it to a guy running in the original direction, which is right. The play never made sense to me. A reverse is helpful against a defense that pursues hard. But those defenders who are lazy, who merely stay at home, are in perfect position against a double. Doesn't make sense. But a lot of things don't. Personal seat licenses, for instance.
From Dan of Yonkers, N.Y. Two of the three Patriots' marches to the Super Bowl title led to rule changes, and a runner-up run was marked by Spygate, ergo will people remember the Pats as a dynasty with an asterisk? No. Too much to remember.
A second comment from Tim of NYC, who thanked me for my Upshaw piece. Hmmm, a complicated one, dealing with Felix Jones, Darren McFadden's running mate at Arkansas. OK, right...a dozen carries a game...a little shorter, stockier...mmm...heavier...imagine that? Tim, you're a good guy, so I'm not going to try to snow you, as I do so often with people I don't like. I haven't seen the guy play. I promise I'll say something wickedly intelligent when I do.
Jimmie of Benton Harbor, Mich, asks, "Do you think the Lions finally have a decent enough team to possibly contend enough to win the NFC North?" What are you talking about? My school? Columbia? The Lions, the Light Blue? What are they doing in the NFL?
"There, you've done it, you've come up with the single weakest, lamest attempt at humor that you've ever done," says Red Flame, who has finally torn herself away from politics for a minute. I knew I could do it...get her attention. As for your question Jimmie...no, I don't think they've come far enough. Jon Kitna's more of a warrior than a QB.
"How can hell be beach volleyball when they look so darn hot in their bathing suits?" asks Erik of White Salmon, Wash. Do you mean the men or the women, Erik?
Carl of Winnipeg laces into the Raiders with some Canadian clown humor, bulb nose, white face paint, 30 Raiders piling out of a car, etc. You know what this tells me, Carl? It tells me, and correct me if I'm wrong, please, that you're an old Pride and Poise guy who has had his heart broken by this team. Don't try to deny it. I've got you nailed, haven't I?