MMQB Mail (cont.)
Now, onto your e-mail:
EXCELLENT QUESTION, AND YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO ASKED IT, BRAD. From Brad Rogers, of Cincinnati: "Great stuff. Can't wait to read it Monday mornings. My question is, how can teams like Seattle anoint a coach in waiting and skate the Rooney rule, while a team like St. Louis can't put incentives in Jim Haslett's interim coach's contract to become the head coach next year? What's the difference?''
The Colts wrote into assistant coach Jim Caldwell's contract the same clause as Seattle wrote into Jim Mora's: When the current coach steps down, Caldwell and Mora will be the next coach. When the Rams hired Haslett originally to be defensive coordinator, there was not a clause in his contract that he would be named the coach whenever Scott Linehan took the job. When Linehan got fired, and St. Louis negotiated a clause with Haslett, the Rams attempted to insert a clause that he would be named the permanent coach if he won six games, but the clause was not approved by the league. The Rooney Rule, instituted in 2003, has as one of it tenets that when a team changes coaches in midseason or after the season, it must interview at least one minority candidate for the permanent job. It was put in place to make sure that in all coaching changes that happen after the start of a season, at least one minority candidate must be interviewed.
STAPH IS NOT SO EASY, KING. From Rob Johnson, of Washington, D.C.: "It's not that staph is more prevalent in football than the general population. It's that you would expect the locker rooms of millionaires to be perfect. Do you think the CEO's of Fortune 500 companies would be OK with a locker room that's only as clean as the local YMCA?''
The problem with your thinking, Rob, is the locker rooms of NFL cannot be made perfect. CEO locker rooms don't have men with cuts from field turf fields taking their work clothes off in close proximity to men with sores from sweaty chinstraps next to other men using tape-cutters to remove tape from sweaty and sometimes bloody limbs.
I documented Monday how I don't think staph is much more evident in NFL locker rooms than it is in the general public. Four percent of the populace, according the Centers for Disease Control, seek medical help annually for staph-related infections. I don't think the number is that much higher, if at all, in the communal locker room world of the National Football League.
GOOD POINT. From Eric Vogan, of Baltimore: "Peter, I'm disappointed that there was no mention of the mammoth job Shaun Rogers did in Jacksonville on Sunday. He was imperative in the win (along with the Browns keeping penalties to a minimum, finally.) and should've won defensive player of the week. Comments?''
I'm sure he was, Eric. But I did not see the game, only a few highlights at 1 in the morning. When I'm at a football game on Sundays -- as I was for the rare occasion Sunday in Dallas, assigned to the game for NBC's "Football Night in America'' show -- I can't monitor the other games as I do when I'm in the studio on Sundays. My apologies for the Rogers slight. Thanks for pointing out what I missed, and I wish I'd pointed out a few other things in greater detail. I can't believe I missed Andy Reid's 100th win as an NFL coach, which deserved kudos, and I wish I'd made more mention of the dominant job cornerback Josh Wilson did for the Seahawks, and Brian Westbrook did for Philly.
YOU CAN GET SKYLINE IN FLORIDA, JILL SAYS. From Jill, of Santa Monica, Calif.: "I was just reading your column and felt compelled to write you. I LOVE Skyline Chili. Love it. Love it. Love it. Dream about it. The four-way chili and those little cheese coneys were sent from heaven. And now that I know you're a fellow fan, I wanted to let you in on a secret. If you're ever in Ft. Lauderdale, there are two Skyline Chili locations right near the airport. Perfect pit-stop on the way in or out. It was like Christmas in July when I found out. It's the little things in life.''
Not sure what I like better, Jill. A Springsteen show or a Skyline four-way with onions and the oyster crackers and a cheese coney, with a peppermint patty, walking out the door. It's very, very close. But assuming I've eaten in the last four days, I think I'd go with Bruce.
I DID -- AND THERE'S MORE IN THE WORKS. From Alan Miller, of Ithaca, N.Y.: "Hi, Peter. I have decided I will e-mail you each week now until you mention Fred Robbins. Although his stat line this week is not a good indicator, he is clearly the key to the defensive success the Giants are having. The DE's get all of the love for the Giants, but Robbins is creating the gaps and mismatches that give Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck all of their opportunities.''
Brilliant letter, Alan. I have to admit I used Robbins' name in the column today because of it, just to make you happy. But you're right -- it's deserved. I recently watched gametape with Robbins at Giants Stadium for 90 minutes to get a good view of his world and the world of defensive tackles, and there will be some tribute paid to Robbins next week in the magazine. Thanks for pointing him out. He's a great run-stopper, and when a good run-stopper gives you 17.5 sacks since the start of 2006, well, that's an added bonus.
PORTIS IS NOT HIGH-MAINTENANCE. From Craig Kaminsky, of Ouray, Colo.: "Love the column but how can you call Clinton Portis a high-maintenance guy? Unlike guys like Plaxico Burress, Clinton plays every damn play hard, has a sense of humor and, unlike most RBs in this league, will sell out his body to pick up a blitz or make a block or run down a guy in preseason. The man also restructured his deal this offseason to help the team (thanks to The Danny and his free-spending, screw-the-cap ways). Of course, CP is rich and his renegotiation doesn't make him a hero, but it shows he does put the team first, like just about all his other actions.''
You're right. That's a bad characterization. He's a guts-out player and a great (not good, but great, blocker), and he's quirky, sometimes resulting in a coach having to spend some time with him trying to calm him down. I shouldn't have used that phrase. Good catch.
ANOTHER GOOD CATCH. SORRY, RICH. From Rich, of Geneva, N.Y.: "What did you learn about football this week? I like the new section and missed it.''
I learned that sometimes I forget parts of my column that I promised to write every week. I'm kicking myself. Sorry. I had something about Jeff Garcia, and I'll give it to you next week, along with a second item.
YOU ARE MISSING THE WEST-TO-EAST ANGLE, PETER. From Bradley Mayer, of Baltimore: "Come on Peter. You cannot believe the West-to-East angle doesn't affect teams? Just look in college football as well. The least the NFL can do is start the West-to-East games at 4 p.m.''
Why should the league do that? Because Seattle stinks? San Francisco stinks? Oakland stinks? And they travel to six road games, combined, games in which every one of the West Coast teams is an underdog, and they go 0-6? Surprise! And Arizona travels to three venues, an underdog in every one, and goes 0-3?
Did you ever see Bill Walsh in San Francisco, John Madden in Oakland, Chuck Knox in Seattle or Don Coryell in San Diego make excuses about flying their players four or five hours, often in luxury (the 49ers used to bring a chef on the plane to cook special meals for players) to a game, and saying they lost on the East Coast because of an airplane trip?
Players practice in training camp everywhere at 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m. You're telling me -- as many of you have in the mailbag this week -- that because it's two months later, all of a sudden it's unfair to ask them to wake up early on their body clocks and play a football game? After, by the way, most of them have to be in their rooms at 11 p.m. ET the night before the game. It's an interesting note, one that I've used because it's so stark. But I've never bought into the theory that it prevents a team from showing up and playing well.
NOW, ABOUT THOSE MOVIES I WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT ... From Rich, of Montclair, N.J.: " 'Appaloosa.' Great story, great acting.''
From Bob Zimmerman, of New York: "Saw 'W' with the Mrs. on Friday night. Regardless of your political beliefs, it's a very good movie. I was under the impression it would be a classic Oliver Stone or Michael Moore job, but Bush comes across both sympathetic and human, as well as what led him to make the kinds of decisions he has made the past eight years. And it also shows the conflict between his dad and him that seems to still be in play. All in all, while I haven't and wouldn't vote for him, he is somehow much more human in my eyes now.''
From Phil Kiczula, of Los Angeles: "Check out 'Rock n Rolla.' Very quick, just like 'Snatch.' Good dude movie.''
From Jamil Smith, of Mount Laurel, N.J.: "Highly recommend 'Secret Life of Bees' and Woody Allen's latest, 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona.' ''
Well, thanks. Hope to get to one of those (I've already seen "W'') this weekend.