Getting back, slowly, to football
Click here to submit a question to Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
First, my gratitude goes out to everyone who wrote -- Brian of West Orange, N.J.; Matthias of Essen, Germany; Grady of Champion, Texas; Michael of Brandon, Miss.; and Dan, the school teacher from Freeport on Long Island; and others too numerous to mention -- thanking me for this week's Monday Morning Quarterback. I was touched by your wishes, really and truly.
I'm going to let Richard T. Doyle of New York speak for all of you, if you don't mind: "I don't have a question. Just a thank you. I got back tonight from working a volunteer shift down at the WTC site with fellow students from Union Theological Seminary, where I currently go to school. Too wired to sleep, I decided to log on and check out your MMQB column. While down at the WTC site, I had the chance to walk directly pass Ground Zero. Still smoldering. Still filling the air with an incredible stench. Still scarring the land like a giant, gaping, bleeding wound. According to several recovery people I spoke with, they expect to be there at least until Christmas, probably six months. Your column helped me begin to get a handle on my emotions, after what I saw, and heard, and smelled. I'm a seminarian. I really don't know if God exists, or heaven exists, but I know that hell exists, because tonight I stood at the gates of it. Thanks for your column, which was exactly what I needed to read at exactly the right time."
Thank you. Now, on to your questions for the week.
I am a big fan of the Seahawks and Mike Holmgren, but after the first two
games I have little faith in them over the rest of season. How long is Paul
Allen going to stick with Holmgren? If the Hawks go 5-11 or worse, will Allen
make a change?
I'm inclined to think Holmgren's safe, barring a total collapse. But if the Seahawks go 5-11, as you say, and Matt Hasselbeck is a disaster -- the latter of which I firmly do not believe will happen -- I think Allen and president Bob Whitsett might be tempted to fire Holmgren. Will they do it? My gut says no. But the Seahawks didn't hire Holmgren for one weak playoff season and two disappointing non-playoff efforts, and Whitsett has a reputation in the NBA as an impatient man. So we'll see.
Why do I sense that it pains you to rank the Miami Dolphins as high on your
top 12 as you do? Does the fact that they have already beaten two reigning
division champs, not to mention Super Bowl contenders, in consecutive weeks mean
We all can disagree on the top teams in the game right now. It's only been two games. For my money, I want to see more out of the Miami offense before I buy into them as I have Denver and St. Louis. I rated them fourth, and, had I thought about it for a long time, I might have put them in a tie for third with Indianapolis. The teams I had above them all have an all-world quarterback. Miami has a unknown, really, at quarterback, though Jay Fiedler grew up big-time in my eyes at the end of Sunday's win against Oakland. Don't take me wrong: I like the Dolphins. It's just going to take me a few more weeks to have the same faith in them as I do the top two teams. And you know what? That could all change Sunday. Weird league this year.
Hey, Mr. King, I know you're a big fan and personal buddy of Brett Favre.
When do you think they'll start implementing the true West Coast offense? I
assume the Packers are waiting for the right formula, and they seem to have it
right now. With Bubba Franks emerging, David Martin getting more into the
scheme, and Dorsey Levens healthy again, there isn't a better time to use the
double tight end, and split-back formation respectively.
Excellent points, Pheng. But I'm not sure it's the right time to fiddle with an offense when your team has outscored the opposition 65-6 after two games. While on the topic, I have to hand it to Mike Sherman, who has learned a great lesson from departed GM Ron Wolf: Play kids early and often. A scouting staff can only help a team if the coaches will play the kids who are imported. And Martin, a low-round pick who looked like Kellen Winslow Monday night, is a perfect example.
I seem to remember you answering almost the same question about a year ago,
but here goes anyway: what are Doug Flutie's chances of making the Hall of Fame?
After all, it is the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not the NFL
Hall of Fame, right? Let's just safely guess that Flutie has roughly two seasons
left in him of football. In those two years, let's say he manages to take San
Diego to the playoffs both years and makes the Pro Bowl at least once.
Combining that possibility with his winning record in Buffalo (including his
previous Pro Bowl selection) and his tremendous success in the Canadian Football
League, could that be enough to get him in? Seems like a long shot, admittedly,
but the guy's had so many tough breaks in the NFL, I'd love to see him get this
I think Flutie holds his candidacy in his hands right now. If he leads this San Diego to the playoffs -- and beyond -- this year, and if he holds off Drew Brees next year and has another great year at 39, then I think he goes from being a long shot to a real shot. I am a big Flutie backer, and I agree with you: It's not the NFL Hall of Fame. Bud Grant got in, in part, because of his CFL career. What will hurt Flutie, justifiably, is that all those years in Canada will be downgraded by the men who sit in judgment at the Hall of Fame. Let's see what the next two or three years bring, and then we'll be able to judge Doug Flutie correctly.
Why wasn't there an off-week built into the schedule between the conference
championship games and the Super Bowl this year as there has been in the past?
Do you think the NFL will make it a point to include an off-week going forward,
to avoid the kind of scheduling problems they are currently up against with the
No bye week, Hank, because the NFL did not want to start the season on Labor Day weekend due to the poor TV ratings on a holiday Sunday when many people don't turn on the TV. Because the Super Bowl date is etched in stone (though not without an eraser, as you can see by this strange season) so far in advance, even if you push the start of the season back a week, you can't push the Super Bowl back.
Is this the beginning of bottom-dwelling for the Redskins?. I think Marty
Schottenheimer deserves this. He assumed a quick and easy Super Bowl with this
team. A Super Bowl win would make people forget his debacles in Cleveland and
Kansas City. Dallas is one or two years away from contending again. Philadelphia
is on the verge of catching the Giants. New York is the team to beat. Arizona is
The Redskins have a long trip back to the top. They've spent so foolishly in free agency, dating back to the twin monster contracts for Dan Wilkinson and Dana Stubblefield, that it'll take two or three years of good decision-making to make up for it. Your other comments are pretty much right on.
I know it's early in the season, but is it at all possible that you and all
of the other "experts" could have been wrong about the Bengals?
I doubt it.
How in the world are the Saints not in your Top 12? I know that San Diego is
the new darling of all the football writers, but who have they beaten to deserve
being ranked over the Saints? Give me a break!
My fault. The Saints deserve to be No. 8 or 9.
I've been a big fan of the Monday Morning Quarterback for quite some time
and generally appreciate your insights. But calling Mike Anderson "the
best back in football" is a stretch, to say the least. While Anderson is a
heck of a runner, I just don't think you can put him in the same league as a
Marshall Faulk or Edgerrin James. It can also be argued that Ahman Green might
be a more talented back. I think you owe your loyal readers an explanation.
Partially my fault. I mean to say "best other than Marshall Faulk.'' But I simply feel that Mike Anderson is a rare combination of brute force, determination and good moves, and I think he will be a consistent 1,300-yard rusher.
What's going on with my Vikings? Preseason they go undefeated, Denny Green
predicts that this is a better squad than last year's, and everyone's happy.
Then they go out and blow the softest 1-2 punch on their schedule, losing to
Carolina and the Bears (the Bears!). Is our season already down the drain?
They mystify me. I still keep waiting for them to wake up and feed Michael Bennett, and roll Daunte Culpepper out, and get Randy Moss involved in the deep passing game. I'm stubborn. I still see them, weak defense and all, as a nine-win team.
Since you're a long-time Starbucks junkie, I'm wondering what your thoughts
are vis-à-vis their charging $130 for three cases of bottled water to EMS
and emergency personnel in New York City on Sept. 11. Even though the money was
eventually returned, and the president of the company made a phone call, the
fact of the matter is that none of this (the faux remorse) would have happened
without the bad publicity they got. A lot of people read you ... please do the
right thing. Don't give them any more of your money, and I urge you to tell your
readers the same.
A disturbing story. I have heard some bad things about Starbucks' corporate side. But I also know that the Starbucks in Upper Montclair, N.J. -- though still doing a consistently lousy job by ignoring their training and not cleaning the pods before brewing each shot of espresso, thus spoiling the quality of the drink -- has been there when I've asked for big urns of coffee for school athletic banquets and school awards nights and youth softball fund-raisers. So as much as that story pains me, I have to give the company credit for being, in my town in New Jersey, a good neighbor.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King covers the NFL and appears
regularly on CNN/Sports Illustrated and CNN's NFL Preview. To send a
question to his mailbag -- which will next appear on Oct. 11 -- click here.