MMQB Mail (cont.)
Several of you were critical of me mostly ignoring the Falcons' resounding win in San Francisco, and that's fair. Why, a couple of you wondered, would I write so much about Michael Crabtree and so little about Atlanta? There are a couple of reasons.
One: I can't spend thoughtful time examining the whys and wherefores of 13 games each week. I try to pick out two or three or four storylines from the games, and maybe one or two from off the field, and go into some depth on them in the top of my column. Then I try to scattershoot for the rest of the column. Sometimes I miss, or underplay, stories many of you think I should cover. And maybe I should. But I'm also occupied with work at NBC on Sunday.
Two: At NBC, my duties put me mostly on the phone from about 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., talking to players and coaches and GMs from the early games so I can report on the news of the day on Football Night in America, and then I'm on the set rehearsing prior to 7. So most of the late games I don't see. If there's a cliffhanger and I can catch part of it, I will. But I don't have access to TiVo or any replays other than the ones I see at NBC, so the fact is I'm going to miss a lot of the good stuff in the late games.
If I could have paid attention to the late games the way I watch the early ones this week, I'd have written more about Matt Ryan/Roddy White, Matt Hasselbeck and the emergence of T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and maybe about the late Arizona stop of Houston at the goal line. This week, I thought the Denver-New England game was most notable, so I followed it the best I could, then spoke with Kyle Orton just before he went on with Bob Costas at halftime of our Sunday night game.
As for the notes about Crabtree and the United Football League, I try to take events of the week that have been in the news and advance them. This week, I thought it was newsworthy to report on what Crabtree's role would be with the Niners and when we'd see him play. Re the UFL, it's been a tangential topic around the NFL for the last few months, and I thought a few paragraphs about this new pro league with so many familiar names was in order. That's it.
Many of you write and Tweet about my selection of topics for the column every week, so I thought I'd let you know how, unfortunately, I'm more limited on the late games than I would like to be. But the tradeoff is I'm able to see more of the early games than before I went to work at NBC in 2006. Prior to that, I'd cover a game for the magazine and most often use leftover stuff from that game to lead my column. Even though I miss on a few worthy topics every week, I'm hitting more topics than I used to.
Taunting/Heckling/Fawning Opportunity of the Week
Now onto your e-mail:
THE SHANAHAN QUESTION. From Todd Brown of Madison, Wis.: "Does Josh McDaniels' success in Denver without Jay Cutler and a revitalized Denver defense lessen Mike Shanahan's appeal in any way to teams looking for a new coach in 2010? Shanahan has had success, but it it's been 11 years and a quarterback named John Elway ago since Shanahan's career reached its peak.''
Excellent question, and if I were an owner, it's a question I'd be asking when I interview him after the season. The question won't be so much about offense, because I think Shanahan would have had one of the best offenses in football had he stayed in Denver. It's the maddening trend of not being able to get the defense right with any consistency, year after year. I'd be asking: What's your defensive plan, and how can I be sure that Bob Slowik (Shanahan's chosen defense coordinator when he gets a new gig) is the man for the job?
THE VOLUME-ON-THE-TV QUESTION. From Kevin of Poway, Calif.: The FCC rules are that the commercials cannot be louder than the loudest point of the program they are aired during. However, the program will have peaks and valleys as the volume changes from scene to scene. Thus, the commercials (set at "car chase" level) seem inordinately loud because they have no variance in volume.''
Thanks for your explanation, Kevin, and I'm going to check on that this week. But I don't notice the volume going up as high during TV shows, at any point, that I notice on some commercials. I've got to find a way to make the madness stop.
WHAT IF WE PUT RUSH AND KEITH ON A SHOW TOGETHER? WOULDN'T THAT BE FUN? From Kevin Green of New Freedom, Pa.: "Why all the fuss about Rush Limbaugh being a part owner in the NFL? But it's OK for Keith Olbermann, who offends conservatives as much as Limbaugh offends liberals, to be a part of the NFL on Sunday night.''
The answer to this could be an epistle, but there's a difference between owning a team and commenting on a team. As someone who's in the studio with Olbermann every week, I can tell you that the concentration for him is totally on football and analysis and funny football lines (not funny political lines) when he does the highlights.
RE DEION SANDERS' CONFLICT OF INTEREST ... From Nicole of Chicago: "And this is different than Peter King how exactly? Replace "training with" and put in "answers his calls / texts" and we have the same situation. How can we trust what Peter King says -- is he overpraising players who return his texts and calls? Come on Peter, that's an incredibly poor shot you took at Sanders without any evidence that he has been anything but professional in his work on-air.''
I'm calling it the way I see it, Nicole. And when I hear Sanders talk about guys I know he loves, there is never heard a discouraging word. You can make the same point about me, but I think you could find a negative thing or two I've said over the years about the players and coaches I respect, as I did with Brett Favre this summer.
AND ALSO RE DEION ... From John Connor of Little Rock, Ark.: "Great point about Deion Sanders. You have to wonder if his "kids" will start thinking twice about their relationship with him now that he has negatively impacted two nascent careers. I've always respected his impact as a player but always thought his mouth would eventually get him in trouble.''
I don't blame Sanders for trying to help players. That's his nature. It's fine. What I mind is thinking I'm not going to hear legitimate criticism about the scores of players he's close to in the league.
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