Quote of the Week I
"If they decide to use the tag on me, the first thing I would be doing is requesting a trade.''
Quote of the Week II
"Glad you came to New York. And my son Zack's got a great middle name.''
Zack Brett Mangini was born last Oct. 11 -- also Favre's 39th birthday -- and the coach gave the boy a middle name in honor of Favre.
Quote of the Week III
"Reed caused damage to a towel dispenser as he was infuriated at the fact that there were no towels in it.''
Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week
Bumper sticker seen in Manhattan last week: THIS IS OUR YEAR.
Who are you? Whose year is it, or will it be?
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
So let's see the results of the Green Bay-New York trade for Brett Favre now. The conditional draft choice would have been a fourth-round pick if Favre didn't meet any of the Jets' projections for him. It turned into a three by Favre taking more than 50 percent of the offensive snaps; it would have been a two had the Jets made the playoffs with Favre taking at least 70 percent of the snaps, and a one if the Jets had made the Super Bowl with Favre taking at least 80 percent of the snaps.
In the first 100 picks of the April 26-27 draft, here are the Jets' and Packers' overall selections:
Stat of the Week
Florence had no interceptions, no sacks and three passes defensed. He made $9 million in salary and bonuses last year.
Porter had 11 catches for 181 yards and one touchdown. He made $7.4 million in salary and bonuses last year.
That's $16.4 million wasted -- and a terrific advertisement for the futility of starry free-agency -- by the Jaguars, who also fired GM Shack Harris after a bad season, and after a bad year of signings.
Good Guy of the Week
Tony Dungy, former Indianapolis coach, current citizen of Florida.
Dungy was a pretty fair coach. He might be making more of an impact as a writer. His first book, Quiet Strength: The Practices and Priorities of a Winning Life, reached No. 1 on the New York Times' hardcover non-fiction best-seller list in 2007. His new effort, Uncommon, written with Nathan Whitaker (who also co-authored the first book), debuted this weekend at No. 2 on the Times' Advice/How-to/Miscellaneous list.
Uncommon was written by Dungy to try to connect with adolescents, to tell them they don't have to follow the pack if the pack is going down the wrong path. The American 16-year-old is hell-bent on being popular, and being in the right clique, which is all well and good if that popularity and clique are for the good. Too often, they aren't. Dungy urges kids to follow their conscience, not the crowd.
"If I had a six-hour car ride with my son, I'd tell him the things I've learned in my life that I wanted to pass along to him that I felt were important,'' Dungy told me the other day. "That's what this book is. After Quiet Strength, I got a lot of letters from high school teachers, junior high school teachers, wanting a message for young people. Not every young person has the kind of mentor in his or her life who they trust, who can say to them, 'Well, you're going one way, but there's another way to go, and you should think about the other way.' So many kids are searching to find their compass. I hope I can help them.''
I remember talking to Dungy after Terrell Owens did that silly stunt in Philadelphia, where one of the Desperate Housewives (Nicolette Sheridan) disrobed with her back to the camera and jumped into T.O.'s arms, and ABC showed it on Monday Night Football. Dungy was outraged. I'd never heard him angry before, and over the phone he was spittin' mad about the horrible example this sent to the youth of America watching the game on TV. I was reminded of that talking to him about this book. He really wants to be the kind of beacon young people might follow -- not to be a hero, but simply to show that there's another way.
"My football coach at the University of Minnesota, Cal Stoll, used to tell us, 'Success is uncommon, not to be found by the common man. I'm looking for uncommon people,'" Dungy said. "What he was saying was, 'Don't be average. Don't follow the crowd. Be special.'"
And when you follow the crowd, know why you do it. Dungy writes of being a youth basketball player, and picking sneakers to wear on his junior high team. "I have a vivid recollection of eighth grade -- 1968 -- and wanting a pair of Chuck Taylor basketball shoes. Everybody had a pair, and I mean everybody. They were Converse's most popular shoe -- the Converse All-Star, a canvas high-top. It's hard to imagine today, but back then ... wow. My father took me to the store for new shoes. I wanted the Chuck Taylors, which were $7.99, as I recall. My dad thought I should get the K-Mart version, which retailed for $3.99. I was distressed. My dad showed me that the Kmart's store brand and the Converse shoes were made of the same material, with the same quality, and that the price difference of a 100-percent markup was due to all the marketing hype ... My dad didn't say I couldn't get the shoes; he just said that he wouldn't spend the extra money to buy them. His obligation was to provide me with safe, comfortable equipment for my activities. If I wanted to go beyond that, it was up to me. I remember what he said that day: 'They are identical, but if it matters enough to you, then you can earn the four dollars to pay the difference.' It was my first lesson in style versus substance. I chose the Chuck Taylors, understanding that I was choosing style. And I worked extra jobs beyond my regular chores for a month to pay off the four dollars my dad had advanced me to buy the shoes.''
Whether you're having trouble raising your children (what a silly statement; who has truly had a child-rearing cakewalk?) or want to get some uncommon common sense piped into your head, these are 260 pages worth your time.