1. I think these are my Super Bowl leftovers:
a. I've seen 43 people try to spin the Wes Welker non-catch into some deep way of trying to understand why it was too difficult a catch to call a drop. An NFL coach told Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe his team would not have called that a drop. Whatever. The fact is, that ball contacted the palms of both of Welker's hands cleanly, and he was not touched by a Giant defender. Call it a drop. Don't call it a drop. I don't care. But Wes Welker has to make that catch. Has to.
b. Regarding Matt Light and Rob Gronkowski dancing the night away after the Super Bowl loss: I don't care. I don't know why anyone should care. Big loss. Long season. Blowing off steam legally. Big hairy deal. Spare me the reasoning that the Patriots lost and they should stay in their rooms and drown their sorrows there. What do you think past Super Bowl losers have done? Order room service and curse at the TV? The only reason the public found out about Light and Gronkowski is because everyone in America has a camera phone today, and nothing is truly private.
c. Regarding the game Light played: Tom Brady went back to pass 43 times. Light gave up two pressures (actually, one hit on Brady and one pressure) and zero sacks. Thirty-four times, the man across from him was either Osi Umenyiora or Jason Pierre-Paul. And he never gave up a sack. That was a great game Light played.
d. Speaking of offensive linemen who did good work, rewind the Manning throw to Manningham, and watch how left guard Kevin Boothe stones Vince Wilfork. Absolutely stones him.
e. Chad Ochocinco's first season in New England is over. He played in 17 games, including the playoffs, and caught 16 passes. And those who waved goodbye to him in Cincinnati and said he would be a poor route-runner and wouldn't fit in with Tom Brady are now saying, "Told you so.''
f. Are you telling me we have to wait until the fall of 2015 for another Giants-Patriots game, at least one that doesn't happen in the Super Bowl. Booooooo!
g. Last four Giants-Pats games: New York 97, New England 89.
h. Last five Giants-Pats game: New England 106, New York 103.
2. I think these are my Hall of Fame thoughts, as one of 44 voters who has been taking kill shots on various parts of my body in the last eight days:
a. This was my 20th year as a voter. If the Hall wants to institute term limits for the voters, to try to break some of the logjams that seem to be happening, it's fine with me. I won't argue. We didn't sign contracts-til-death when the Hall asked us to be on the Selection Committee. Anytime they want me to leave, all they have to do is show me the door.
b. Now, if you want term limits, you have to understand what you'll be getting. You'll be throwing out veteran NFL media folk and importing some less-experienced ones, in many cases. I understand the sentiment to throw the bums out, as in Congress. But I would ask this question: Do you want a new panel of bums if most of the replacements haven't covered the NFL long enough to have worked a game that Andre Reed played in?
c. I work with and like Mike Florio. But as I told him the other day, it's personally insulting to read him say the 44 committee members are in this, in part, as some sort of power trip to hold some sway over the people we cover. I can speak for one person on the committee -- me. And I don't do this for the power.
d. I want all Hall votes to be public. I have told Hall officials that several times. I think it's important for the public to know who we do and don't support. If you want to write to someone to try to effect change -- either in the transparency issue or in the issue of putting players and club officials on the election panel -- write to Steve Perry, president, Pro Football Hall of Fame, 2121 George Halas Drive NW, Canton, Ohio 44708.
e. Regarding players, coaches and club officials being on the committee instead of media people: Fine with me. If it happens, though, I believe it has to be 32 additional voters -- one former player, coach or club officials per team. I actually think this would be good. To have Bill Polian, Ron Wolf, Sonny Jurgensen, Dan Dierdorf, Bill Cowher, Nat Moore and Mike Haynes would be refreshing and smart. Now, the meeting would likely have to be two days long; the meeting this year was 7 hours and 34 minutes with 44 people.
f. Please stop asking questions like, "Is Eli Manning a Hall of Famer now?'' The answer is simple: Hall of Fame credentials are determined once a player has retired. Eli Manning has six or eight years left, easy, unless he gets hurt. Now is not the time to make a rational decision on whether the 51st-leading passer of all time (in passing yards) is a Hall of Famer.
g. When you tell me, "You're an idiot for leaving Bill Parcells and Cris Carter out of the Hall of Fame,'' understand that I am one of 44 voters. I am one-44th to blame, though I supported both with my vote and my mouth.
h. When you tell me, "You're an idiot for leaving Parcells and Carter out of the Hall of Fame,'' tell me which two enshrinees you'd have left out.
i. As for the rumor-mongering about Carter or whoever being "one vote short'' or some number of votes shy of election: Absolutely absurd. Deloitte, the accounting firm, is the only entity that knows the vote totals. All votes in the room are secret. We don't know who votes for anyone. We can guess, certainly, based on what is said in the room. But to know with certainty? Impossible.
j. Never have I heard a voter say anything like, "Cris Carter's an idiot, so I'm not voting for him.'' Not even close.
k. I'm still waiting for the Andre Reed fans from La Jolla and Albuquerque and Lubbock to harangue me about why he hasn't been elected. It's funny that all the critics so far seem to be from Western New York.
l. We don't have to be biased against a candidate to not vote for him. We could simply think he's not a Hall of Famer. Is that so hard to believe?
3. I think Ricky Williams will go down as one of the most memorable players I've covered. Remember his days of being interviewed while wearing his helmet? He did that in his rookie year in New Orleans and later was found to have social anxiety disorder. I remember talking to him after a game one day at the Superdome, and he sat in full uniform, helmet buckled, shield over his eyes. Very strange.
The one thing I always liked about him -- and this sounds odd to say -- is he was very kind. Polite, smart and sort of a locker-room misfit in those early years. But as he grew and went back to Miami after his year suspension for marijuana use, and then later in his last year in Baltimore, you saw what a good and unselfish football player he was. He blocked willingly and ran hard all the time. He finished as one of 26 players ever to rush for 10,000 yards.
I asked John Harbaugh over the weekend about what he thought of having Williams for the 2011 season. "Very integrated,'' Harbaugh said, meaning he was a good teammate and team player. "Liked talking philosophy, religion, diet and politics. It'll be fascinating to see what he does.''
4. I think the Rams were smart to hire a hardworking scout like Les Snead as general manager. All he wants to do is find players. I know Snead, and I know his work ethic, and he's going to mesh with new coach Jeff Fisher just fine.
5. I think the Colts were smart to promote Tom Telesco to vice president of football operations, so as not to lose him to the Rams, or anyone else. Telesco could be the next great GM in football.
6. I think all teams needing a wide receiver in free agency should line up for Mario Manningham. I don't see the Giants making anything but a cursory effort to sign Manningham, who likely will get at least $7 million a year somewhere. He believes he can play to a star level in the league and that he hasn't had the chance.
7. I think Hines Ward would play for a fraction of his current $4 million 2012 salary to stay in Pittsburgh. I talked to him last week, and he wants to play one more year, and he wants to play for the Steelers.
But the way he was buried in the last half of the season (he played an average of 14.4 snaps per game in the last nine of the season, according to ProFootballFocus.com), it's hard to imagine the Steelers want him back, especially with the speedier bench player Jerricho Cotchery available.
8. I think the phrase "plays well with others,'' will be important for former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley to remember if he hopes to have success as the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh. He left behind some poor relationships in Kansas City -- and not just with GM Scott Pioli. Haley has to bond with Roethlisberger and help the QB produce at a consistent playoff level, while keeping three talented receivers content. It'll be an interesting chemistry experiment.
9. I think the most important point to realize about Peyton Manning, and who might be in play for him if the Colts cut him, is this: It's hard to place a value on him until you know exactly what kind of physical condition he's in.
Say you're the Redskins. Say you've investigated Matt Flynn and like him a lot. If you think you can get Flynn (assuming the Packers don't franchise him, and they certainly may) for, say, $9 million a year in a multiyear deal and you're not sure about Manning's health, you have to get Flynn.
I have a feeling, though, that Manning is going to be throwing the ball pretty well by March 10, and he'll tempt a quarterback-needy team like Washington or Miami.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Started my first offseason book: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. It's not Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but I'm attacking it and enjoying it. Great stories about the early days of cancer detection.
b. My gym in New York always has those Housewives of ... shows on. I have peeked. Is this what we have come to as a society?
c. That's how old I am.
d. Excellent job by Anderson Cooper on "60 Minutes," getting the singer Adele to dish on stage fright. Revealing. Then ...
e. Cool to then see Adele do Rolling in the Deep on the Grammys. What a voice. What a presence.
f. You know you put life on hold when you clean out your desk after a long season and find a Boston Globe sports section from early September -- printed two months before I moved from Boston to Manhattan -- in a pile in the corner.
g. I guess we came at the right time, Indianapolis.
h. I haven't shaved since Super Bowl Sunday. How do I look?
i. Coffeenerdness: You're too inconsistent with the lattes, Manhattan Starbucks. I haven't owned an espresso machine for a few years, but I'll be getting one this week.
j. Beernerdness: Back to Peroni for a while. The heavier beers are fun, and I'll be back, but I've got to drop a few pounds. More than a few, actually. Looking a little like the Michelin Man.
k. Good luck in your new home, Donnie Brasco!
l. Don't get used to 7,000-word columns in the offseason. Just got a little wordy over the weekend. Next week: Free-agent lists and opinions.
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