MMQB Mailbag (cont.)
DIFFERENT STORIES, I THINK. "You have a great column but you missed the boat in one regard this week. You commended Raiders Tyvon Branch for returning a fumble for a touchdown against the Chargers. However, did he really make the proper play? Branch recovered the ball with a little over one minute left in the game, at the Oakland 36-yard line, when San Diego had 2 timeouts left. The TD put the Raiders up 8. If Branch had simply fallen to the ground after recovering the ball (and avoided the possibility of fumbling, a risk that only a few sentences later in your column you chastised Rodgers-Cromartie for taking), the Raiders could have whittled the clock down to maybe 10 seconds left and punted to the Chargers, who in all likelihood would have had to travel 50 yards in a few seconds to set up a field goal.
"Granted, it's nice to have the security blanket of knowing you at least can't lose in regulation, and a lot can go wrong when you're punting, but wouldn't falling on the ball have greatly increased the Raiders chances of winning the game? We see this every week in the NFL, defensive players not understanding the consequences of what they do if they ever get the ball. Sometimes it will burn their team, as it did for San Francisco, and sometimes teams get lucky enough to overcome such absent-minded plays.''
-- Michael, Brooklyn, N.Y.
I got this comment from a lot of people, but I think the situations are different. In the Saints game, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted a ball with 24 seconds left with the Cardinals ahead and the Saints having no timeouts left. All the Cardinals would have to do there is kneel once and the game is over, yet he wove through traffic, risked a fumble and scored a meaningless touchdown.
In the Raiders game, Oakland was ahead 28-27 with 70 seconds left -- with San Diego having two timeouts -- when Branch picked up a fumble and ran (untouched, I believe) for a touchdown. Had he knelt there, and I'll approximate the time here, the Raiders would have taken over at their 36 with 65 seconds left. Let's say Oakland ran the ball on three straight plays, or took a knee. Oakland would have punted to the Chargers with something like 15 or 20 seconds left, down a point. Let's say they fair-catch the punt at the 25-yard line with 12 to 15 seconds left. That's maybe two plays to get in position for a long field goal. To me, I'm very comfortable with Branch trying to score, assuming, of course, he secures the ball above all else on the runback.
DEFENDING COFFEE. "One comment about Glen Coffee. I think he should be given the benefit of the doubt at this point in time. I don't think most of the story has come out yet, but the crime seems to be an unregistered pistol. A crime, yes, but nothing major. A small fine and he's done. I'm in no way defending having an unregistered hand gun; I just think it's a little early to be calling out the faith of a guy who just quit the NFL in order to pursue missions work.''
-- Hudson Moore, Nashville
I suppose, but I happen to take an unregistered, loaded, cocked handgun within reach of a driver a little more seriously than that.
I DON'T CARE IF A DIVISION WINNER IS BELOW .500, AND IN FACT, IT MIGHT BE FUN. It's not a matter of if, but how many teams will win their division and/or make the playoffs with nine wins or less? Even worse, should the league do anything to prevent a possible 7-9 team winning a division from hosting a playoff game? I can see the NFC West with a 7-9 division winner.''
-- Dru Remsburg, Tampa
Lots of teams have made the playoffs with nine wins before. Hardly unprecedented or even surprising. But I could see an NFC West team winning the division at 7-9. In fact, if I had to guess right now, I'd predict that it has a better chance of happening than of one team in that bunch winning eight or nine games.
SHE MAKES A GOOD POINT. "In your MMQB October 11 article, you state that money raised for the Wounded Warriors organization will benefit "wheelchair-bound veterans." This type of language is outdated and inappropriate. It implies dependence and inability. These men and women are not wheelchair bound, they are wheelchair users. They get out of their chairs to sleep in beds, drive cars, sit on couches, ride roller coasters, etc. Certainly you wouldn't describe an able-bodied individual as "shoe bound" just because shoes make mobility easier. As a person with the power to reach millions of readers each week, you have the ability to help eliminate this type of discriminatory language.''
-- Erin Ryan, Pittsburgh
Good point. Thanks.
CALLING FOR A FAVRE SUSPENSION, IF GUILTY. "In regards to the Brett Favre situation, he must be suspended if he is found guilty of the acts in question. Here is why: this is a classic case of one employee in a powerful position (franchise QB) sending sexually explicit material to an employee in a low-level job, especially if the massage therapist claim is true. Did she have the ability to turn down his request for a massage after he sent her this material? How uncomfortable did she feel just trying to do her job afterward? This is why these rules against sexual harassment are in place.
In any corporation, he would be fired immediately if found guilty. This is not a case of what a man does on his own time. If he had sent the same photos to a woman he met at the bar or socially, then I agree that I dot care what he does on his time, and he should not even fined. However, sexual harassment in the workplace is an issue that every career woman has faced at some point, and most of us downplay in order to advance our careers. It is a major issue that should not be swept under the rug.''
-- Jody, Aurora, Ill.
I don't think the NFL is going to sweep it under the rug. The question is, does this rise to the level of suspension under the NFL's personal conduct policy if, for the first time since 1996, a player runs afoul of the NFL behavioral policies? That's what Roger Goodell is going to have to decide -- that plus the potential seriousness of the charge, obviously.